Cities need electricity and they need telecommunication networks. And these networks can not exactly all be made wireless. So a city ends up with many boxes for switching equipment, all on street corners, and on sidewalks.
I have liked some of the boxes in Beijing for a while now. They used elements of traditional designs to make them a bit less boring and grey.
On my recent visit I encountered a pretty brilliant idea connected to these boxes though. Instead of using the boxes for some jarring advertising, many were covered in prints of beautiful drawings. The drawings are mostly monochromatic, and so they look very natural in this context. An art gallery in the street. An excellent localization, a small but beautiful source of identity for the city.
And I could imagine that the drawings have an even deeper meaning for someone who has grown up learning about them. And they will have a deeper meaning for those growing up around them now.