[ahy-sawr, ahy-sohr]

An eyesore is what an individual perceives as an unpleasant sight. Common examples include dilapidated buildings, graffiti, litter, polluted areas and excessive commercial signage such as billboards. All eyesores are a matter of subjective opinion. For example, classical ruins are not perceived as dilapidated buildings and Times Square is enjoyed for the abundant use of neon signage. The notion of the eyesore is particularly related to the 20th Century and the advent of modern architecture and new unfamiliar structures such as pylons or wind turbines.

Effect on property values

In the USA, the National Association of Realtors says an eyesore can shave about 10% off the value of a nearby listing. However, a dilapidated fixer-upper can be a good investment because renovations provide a good rate of return.


Clean-up programmes to improve or remove eyesores are often started by local bodies or even national governments. These are frequently called Operation Eyesore. High-profile international events such as the Olympic Games usually trigger such activity.

Others contend that it is best to nip such problems in the bud by addressing them while they are small, since signs of neglect encourage anti-social behaviour such as vandalism and fly-tipping. This strategy is known as fixing broken windows.


Whether some constructions are eyesores is a matter of controversial opinion which may change over time. Notable examples include:

  • Eiffel Tower - Parisians wanted it pulled down as an eyesore but it is now the world's top landmark.
  • Golden Gate Bridge - decried as "eye-sore to those living and a betrayal of future generations.
  • Millennium Dome - the ugliest building in the world in a poll of architects.
  • Wind farms - thought to be the worst eyesore by readers of Country Life but liked by others.

See also


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