Love locks on bridges – let them be!

Over the last decade, untold millions of locks have been appearing on bridges around the world. Meant to symbolise the unbreakable love between two people (usually with initials written onto the locks and the keys thrown in the water), the locks have been a thorn in the side of local authorities.

Local authorities see the locks, at times in the thousands, as a nuisance and look upon them as vandalism. Germany’s Deutsche Bahn tried to forbid them from Cologne’s Hohenzollern Bridge (a few posts ago), but finally relented in the face of public outcry.

Instead of forbidding love locks, authorities may want to consider the potential benefit that love locks bring. Twenty years ago, graffiti was globally perceived as bad, bad for neighbourhoods, house prices and damaged (or negatively reinforced) the reputation of many areas of cities. An area with graffiti was labeled a “slum”.

Nowadays, local authorities routinely call for “public art” projects which lift up communities, beautify the area and show off local talent. It also gentrifies the area (leading to another big discussion), but it has finally been accepted as something positive.

Just think if a city could fill its bridge with love locks, it would maybe act as a magnet for tourists. It could even be interpreted as a local economic development project. Just look at the Pont des Arts in Paris in the featured Image, or below a purpose built wire tree in Moscow.

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