So smart and simple – The US could use this manhole cover as inspiration to create a new WPA and pay artists to make this country’s strip malls and mid-20th century brick and concrete blocks of buildings and the few sidewalks we have visually appealing. Did you ever spend a few months abroad and get off the plane anywhere in the US and then on a highway and feel despair at how visually unappealing our landscapes, cityscapes, highways, strip malls are? Yeah, yeah. Many will say that’s just “surface” and not worth spending a dime on, but we could create jobs, put people to work, and lighten everyone’s ‘step’ if the roads and buildings in much of our country didn’t look so “blechh.” Look at this via GRIST: They paint the manhole covers in Japan. How fabulous? Hmm. Since the chances are nil that anyone will pay artists to paint our manhole covers, could we at least paint them ourselves without a spoil sport calling it graffiti? We need a Bansky of manhole covers!


Sometimes, the difference between a pleasant, livable city and a stressful one comes down to the details, things you might barely even notice but that influence you almost subconsciously. Municipalities in Japan have gotten at least one of these details down pat, by putting intricate and beautiful decorations in one of the city’s most forgotten places: the lowly manhole cover.

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I tend to watch wheels go round and around.