1st Edition

Murals and the City Comparative Perspective on Practices, Policies, and Regulations

By Eynat Mendelson-Shwartz, Nir Mualam Copyright 2025
    348 Pages 98 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    348 Pages 98 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book provides a cross-urban account on murals, street art, and public art in cities around the globe. It reviews the rules, policies and regulations that frame how murals and street art are managed across a range of cities and contexts. Murals and street art serve as dynamic stages for communities and individuals with multiple and sometimes opposing identities, with the potential to cause disturbance and conflict. The book investigates the challenges they present to cities and city administrations, and the policies and practices that are crafted to address them. The global landscape of today's mural policies is discussed comparatively across a range of cities, and the impact of written rules, unofficial practices, and institutional arrangements on city spaces, walls, and surfaces is examined. An important contribution to this growing field, the book will appeal to students, practitioners, and scholars with an interest in public art, municipal governance, public space management, cultural policy, and urban design.

    Introduction  Part 1: Framing Murals and Public Policies  1. What exactly are murals?  2. Challenges associated with placing murals in the public realm  3. What exactly are mural policies?  4. Key dilemmas confronting decision-makers  Part 2: A Look Under the Hood: Analyzing Five Mural Policies  5. Criteria for analyzing mural policies  6. Portland, Oregon, USA  7. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania  8. Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Israel  9. Jerusalem, Israel, Israel  10. Haifa, Israel  Part 3: What Can we Learn from Mural policies? A comparative analysis  11. Governance Structures, Organizational Configuration, and their Impact on Mural Policies  12. Governing murals - A comparative overview  13. Postproduction governance of murals in the public realm 14. A Global Perspective on Mural Policies: Results of an International Survey of 119 cities around the world  15. Concluding remarks


    Eynat Mendelson-Shwartz, PhD, is a town planner, architect, and artist, currently working as a postdoctoral researcher in the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. For the past six years, Dr. Mendelson-Shwartz has been studying mural and street art policies, giving talks on the subject in a variety of conferences, colloquia, and seminars. Dr. Mendelson-Shwartz has authored a number of articles on mural and street art policy that appeared in leading academic publications such as the Journal of Urban Affairs, and the International Journal of Cultural Policy. Dr. Mendelson-Shwartz is active in the Urban Creativity community, which brings together academic scholars who study street art and urban creativity. Her years in practice have equipped her with a comprehensive understanding of urban planning and governance, as well as a critical perspective informed by both academic and practical knowledge. This rich expertise and passion for the subject matter come together in the pages of this book to produce an authoritative and thorough examination of the topic.

    Nir Mualam, is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology where he also serves as head of the Planning Policy Lab. He is a researcher, a town planner, a seasoned lawyer, and a lecturer, having taught urban planning in both Israel and the US. With his legal background, Nir has served as a legal counsel to local statutory planning boards. His previous areas of study have focused on urban policies, and included an emphasis on urban design. He contributes this invaluable experience, knowledge, and unique perspective (as both an academic and a practitioner) to the writing of this book.

    'Eynat Mendelson-Shwartz and Nir Mualam take us through a journey into 'the social fabric of the city'. They do so brilliantly by mixing the analysis of murals with consideration of public and urban art governance. This book will enrich those who are interested in how authorities tend to regulate public spaces and try to balance the interests of all stakeholders, i.e. artists, property owners and local communities.'

    Dr Enrico Bonadio, The City Law School, City, University of London

    'This book is a necessary resource on the display of murals, which has become a compelling public art form.'

    Professor Daniel R. Mandelker, School of Law, Washington University in St. Louis

    'Murals and the City is a pathbreaking book that delves into the unchartered territory of the legal and public-policy challenges facing the street art we all encounter in cities across the world. Using an innovative and cross national comparative prism, the authors elucidate how murals interact with the communities that appropriate them; how public officials relate to mural art and balance competing interests; and how the city walls are shaped, controlled, and managed.'

    Professor Rachelle Alterman, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology