Utility gets an upgrade

Suburban landscapes in North America have the potential to be bland and unappealing. I remember being at my parent’s house in the wintertime – they lived on the side of the mountain so you could stand on their back porch and look across the valley and out at all the houses below. One morning I woke up and it had snowed. I looked out the window and saw a sea of…beige. Everywhere you looked there were neutral-toned houses topped with white. The green of the evergreens was all that kept the view from being totally boring. (Well, okay, the majestic mountains in the distance helped too, I suppose.)

Suffice to say, suburbia is not necessarily the first place one would look for dashes of colour and visual innovation. However, the outlying areas of the Greater Vancouver Regional District have embarked on an initiative that adds whimsy and interest to a functional, mundane item: the utility box. Here’s what I mean…

Various utility boxes around the GVRD have had images added to their exterior. However, what I really like about this project is that the images reflect unique aspects of the community. Here’s what I mean:

Produce: this references all the farms and fresh produce available in the Fraser Valley.

This one is located near historic downtown Cloverdale.

An assortment of items near the local flea market.

A scene from the Cloverdale Rodeo.

A BC lake. Not sure which one…

Lush BC forest. Ahhhh…..

These revamped utility boxes are a wonderful example of adding beauty to a functional item merely for the sake of beauty. It doesn’t increase their usefulness, but it sure is a welcome break from suburban neutrality and large green boxes.


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