Street Decay Index crowdsources street improvement with untapped human resources.
The roads of Albania are notoriously ill-conceived, poorly used, and inadequately maintained. In city centers they are crowded with pedestrians and highly polluting traffic. That most are unpaved contributes to poor air quality, filling city air with dust. In rural and mountainous areas the roads are windy, convoluted switchbacks, filled with holes and other obstacles. Originally planned to promote the country’s isolation by preventing enemy aircraft from using them as landing strips, the roads are slowly being paved, expanded, and straightened, to facilitate intercity travel and tourism from abroad.
Every day thousands of people in Albania “water” the roads to keep dust from contaminating their air and homes. This enormous amount of free labor can be harnessed, by supplying sprayers with water-borne dying agents, giving the people both the power and the responsibility of creating a visual index of areas in need of paving and repair. Coloring the roads renders underdeveloped city centers as unique artistic entities, recognizable in satellite photography for the benefit of virtual tourists and governmental planning boards. The people’s daily art generates interest on international scale, attracting foreign and domestic investment to high-traffic areas in order to secure the necessary material and funds for effecting infrastructural upgrades nation-wide.