Survey finds garbage, graffiti and poor system of cycling routes negatively impact Prague life quality


Air quality, the unemployment rate and the cost of public transportation – many factors influence the perceived quality of life in urban spaces. A fresh survey suggests that there is much left to improve when it comes to the quality of life in the Czech capital, with the most-cited nuisances of Prague residents being garbage and graffiti. By contrast, public transportation is viewed as adequate and fairly priced by most.

Graffiti, too much garbage on the streets and a lack of cycling routes – those were the most common complaints of Prague residents about the quality of life in the Czech capital. A fresh survey by the citizens’ initiative Za lepší život v Praze, For a better life in Prague, suggests that compared to the EU’s 26 other capitals, the city is losing points in many categories that affect the quality of life. One of the most common complaints is the graffiti that can be seen on many buildings across Prague, says Radim Knapp, one of the author’s of the survey.

“People really hate graffiti. Not so much that they hate the art itself, but the way it destroys some buildings especially in the historical center, and they are sad about the fact that it is really hard to prosecute this kind of vandalism.”

Graffiti does really seem to be the bane of the Czech capital – the people I spoke to on Prague’s streets were quick to point out that it really bothers them to see nice buildings covered in amateurishly sprayed tags.

“I really don’t like graffiti, and I think most people don’t. They spray them where they shouldn’t. They should not do it on new houses and in the trams.”

“I think our transportation system is really world class. I don’t mind graffiti that much, but as far as garbage on the street is concerned, there certainly are areas of the city that could use cleaning up.”

“Graffiti really is a problem here. As far as garbage removal is concerned, it really depends on which part of town you are in, some parts are better in that respect than others.”

By contrast, Prague did well in the category of employment – the city is the sixth richest region in Europe and its 4 percent unemployment rate puts it in third place of European cities with the lowest percentage of people out of a job. In addition, most Prague residents gave good grades to the city’s public transportation system, says Mr. Knapp.

“People really appreciate how well the public transportation system operates. And we found that compared to other cities, Prague has the cheapest price for a monthly pass in relation to the monthly income, which was quite surprising. Considering that it also functions quite well, it was a surprising fact for us that it is comparatively cheap.”

Ilustrační foto: Štěpánka Budková
Prague also did well in terms of its percentage of green spaces – though the city’s air pollution is above the EU average. Other areas where much is left to be desired are the Czech capital’s cycling routes – other European cities are much more bike-friendly – and crime. While violent crime is not a major problem, petty crime and theft continue to plague the Czech capital.