The Role of Street Art in Sustainable Development: Art and Social Change
This paper explores the potential role of street art in making a meaningful contribution towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) via a review of the academic literature and a series of case studies of existing street art initiatives that demonstrate the alignment of this form of art with the SDGs and the 5 P’s of the UN Agenda 2030: People (social), Planet (environmental), Prosperity (cities and economies), Peace, and Partnerships. I also examine the impact of visual forms of communication about sustainability issues, as a powerful means of “synthesizing complex information, portraying new ideas, prompting thought and dialogue, and rapidly conveying ideas” (Nicholson-Cole, 2005: 32). The paper concludes with a focus on the first organised initiative, internationally, to address the Sustainable Development Goals though street art. TOward2030: WHAT ARE YOU DOING? (Lavazza, 2019-2021) represents the first comprehensive street art-based project that aims to address and raise awareness of all 17 SDGs. Building street art culture’s awareness of the complex issues raised by the SDGs, encouraging artists to reflect on sustainability issues in their existing practice, and developing creative networks to include a wider range of stakeholders may augment the capacity of street art to make a significant contribution to progress towards the SDGs.