If you’re trying to determine where the hotspots of the urban fabric begin and end in a neighborhood, you would be hard pressed to find a better indicator than fliers on telephone poles, walls, and other surfaces. Fliers are great indicators for the following reasons:
1. They’re usually time-limited. The constant refreshing of flier locations re-validates that these locations are important to pedestrians.
2. They can be layered on top of each other. Some flier locations develop a 2-to-5 flier thick coat of promotional verbiage and graphics. Like the rings on a tree stump where more rings equals more years, more fliers stapled on top of each other indicates a stronger advertising location.
With the second quality of flier placement, we can actually gather data on flier density in addition to flier locations. I’ve started using a smartphone app called Fulcrum to gather data on fliers, including flier density, and although it will take a while to get a data set like the one for the Super Strudel post, I do intend to map it and try some analytical techniques on the data if it makes sense.
The key point that is great about fliers, however, is that whenever you see repeated postings of new fliers from different people and organizations at the same place, you’re looking at a place that is important across MANY people’s mental maps of their community, and most likely within the heart of the walkable urban fabric.