Prohibitions Competition™

Which Institution "No"s the Most?

compiled by Stephen Drew, AIR staff

A prohibitive sign at a restaurant in Bombay, India. (Click on image to see an enlargement.) See below for details.

In all the world, which institution has the longest list of prohibitions? By this we mean such directives as "NO DOGS," "NO SMOKING," "NO ROLLER-BLADING," etc. This project aims to identify the most prohibitive institution of them all.

==> The Newest Nominated Institutions
==> All the Other Nominated Institutions

THE WINNER WILL RECEIVE: We will send a handsome printed proclamation to the highest official who is theoretically responsible for overseeing the winning institution, and will publicly celebrate him or her, and the institution, and the prohibitions.

HOW TO NOMINATE AN INSTITUTION: Please send your nomination to: PROHIBITIONS COMPETITION c/o <> Please include:

1. The name and location of the institution
2. A complete list of the prohibitions
3. [If available] a URL that points to info about the institution

HISTORY OF THE PROJECT: Originally, this was called the "Parks Prohibitions Competition." This survey was suggested by investigator Andrea Liles, who was impressed by the number of prohibitions she saw posted in Philadelphia city parks.. The project was first announced in mini-AIR 2001-03.

In early 2003 the scope of the competition was extended to include prohibitions that are impressive not simply in number, but alternatively, by the nature of whatever it is they are prohibiting.

In August 2003, inspired by an item submitted by investigator B.S.Chandramouly, the competition's directors expanded the competition to include institutions of ANY kind. The competition was accordingly renamed.

NOBLE EXPERIMENTS: The directors of the Prohibitions Competition note without comment that in the early twentieth century, U.S. President Herbert Hoover declared his nation's prohibition of alcoholic beverages to be a "noble experiment."

Newest Nominated Prohibitive Institutions

A prohibitive sign at Palm Cove Beach. (Click on image to see an enlargement.)

"This Welcome sign is posted next to the lifesavers' hut on Palm Cove beach in Far North Queensland, Australia. I thought that the left side made for interesting reading. The second sign (wooden post) was posted 20 metres away and exposed the dangers from the flora.."
(Submitted by investigator Nicole Bordes)

A prohibitive sign at the Saint Nazaire Basilica. (Click on image to see an enlargement and additional prohibitions.)

CARCASSONNE, FRANCE-- Saint Nazaire Basilica
"I particularly enjoyed the apparent degree of irritation on the part of the sign's sponser indicated by the amount of red on the little icon, culminating in the prohibition against fat guys in shorts, ringed with red marker to draw extra attention to it. This sign was outside the entrance to the Saint Nazaire Basilica in Carcassonne, in southwestern France. I wanted to make sure you could see the fat guy."
(Submitted by investigator Nigel Mends)

A prohibitive sign at the Shinagawa train station. (Click on image to see an enlargement and additional prohibitions.)

SHINAGAWA, JAPAN-- Train Station
"The sign shown in the attached photo hangs in the Shinagawa train station on the Tokyo Yamanote line. One wonders what inspired some of the 'unacceptables' listed."
(Submitted by investigator Sheila Davis)

A prohibitive sign at a restaurant in Bombay, India. (Click on image to see an enlargement.)

BOMBAY, INDIA-- An Irani Restaurant
"I have not found any prohibitive parks in India. Instead I found this Irani restaurant in Bombay (Mumbai), India, which wins hands down with its list of DONTS. It even beats Moses' 10 commandments by a whopping ratio of 2 to 1. Though technically way off a park, I would still like to nominate this restaurant which cooked up this record breaking list of donts.

"Irani hotels are the eating joints, typical to Bombay, which cater to the fast moving crowd. Most of these Irani restaurants' names are not known to the locals too. It is just called as 'Irani hotel xx street' or 'Irani hotel yy area.' I live in Delhi which is about a thousand miles away, and am not sure of the address of this joint. When I get the right address I will share it with you.

"Here is a poem that sums up the typical irani restaurant in Bombay:
(Submitted by investigator B.S.Chandramouly)

A prohibitive sign at Murdoch University. (Click here to see an enlargement of the view from the hallway entering the building, and here to see an enlargement of the view from the other side of the same doorway.)

PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA-- Loneragan Building,
Murdoch University

"The university where I work at proudly displays a sign above the hallway entering the building stating 'No Escape.' Curiously, the other side of the doorway also has the same sign, 'No Escape.' Not a great moral booster to see every day before work, and when 'escaping' for the evening..
(Submitted by investigator John Blinco)

A prohibitive sign in Brookfield, Wisconsin. (Click on image to see an enlargement.)

"I am tempted to send this to the local paper with the caption, 'Have a nice day.' This is either the doing of the Waukesha (Wisconsin) County Parks department, or the Town of Brookfield. Perhaps it was an inspired collaboration."
(Submitted by investigator Joel Habush)

A prohibitive sign at People's Park in Shanghai, China. (Click on image to see an enlargement and additional prohibitions.)

SHANGHAI, CHINA-- People's Park
"I'd nominate People's Park in Shanghai, China. It's my personal favorite. This is a photo I took this spring."
(Submitted by investigator Kathy de la Cruz)








Nominated Prohibitive Institutions

A prohibitive sign in Monte Alban, in Oaxaca, Mexicos.

OAXACA, MEXICO -- Monte Alban Park
See photo, above. For a vew of Monte Alban Park, see <>
(Submitted by investigators Tomas Viguurs and Petr Kazil)

A prohibitive sign in Boxborough

"My entry does not strictly qualify because the prohibition is for a parking lot at the condo where I live, but I thought maybe it could earn honorable mention because of the extremeness of its message. The lot is at 188 Swanson Rd., Boxborough, Massachusetts. The sign reads:

"The signs went up about a year ago. They don't seem to have any effect on the children who play in the parking lot."
(submitted by investigator Edward R. Freniere)

HELSINKI, FINLAND -- Parks throughout the city
"My entry to the competition is somewhat against the rules. The city of Helsinki (capital of Finland) has distributed the following signs in parks all around the city:

SIGN 1: Enjoying Helsinki and considerate behaviour towards other inhabitants and people visiting the city is according to the municipal ordinance ABSOLUTELY PERMITTED
SIGN 2: Appropriate enjoying of refreshment and gathering the packings in parks, green areas, streets and squares and returning the accumulated material to collection containers reserved for them is according to the municipal ordinance ABSOLUTELY PERMITTED
SIGN 3: Taking the wastes of the people of Helsinki and of their pets from parks, streets and beaches to wastebins is according to the municipal ordinance ABSOLUTELY PERMITTED
SIGN 4: Preferring public toilets instead of parks and doorways is according to the municipal ordinance ABSOLUTELY PERMITTED
SIGN 5: Enjoying the common trees, bushes and flowers that give joy and clean air and leaving them in peace is according to the municipal ordinance ABSOLUTELY PERMITTED

"These signs can be seen at <> (Finnish only, sorry)"
(submitted by investigator Jussi.Valimaki)

A prohibitive sign in Coole Park

"I can't say I have any idea what this park prohibition sign prohibits, but it looks to represent a whole complex of prohibitions about cars, windows, dogs, watches, and cameras. Find your own interpretation, then judge it against the other candidates. Here are two pictures. Coole Park is the, home of the famous Autograph Tree."
For a view of the park see <>
(submitted by investigator Peter A. Kaplan)

PLITVICE, CROATIA -- Plitvice National Park
This is the back of the entrance ticket to Plitvice National Park in Croatia. There is no text to go along with the prohibitions, so I can only guess that they are (left to right, top to bottom):

1) Pick flowers
2) Dig up flowers
3) Litter
4) Make fires
5) Scare the animals
6) Scare the birds
7) Steal stalactites
8) Carve your name in trees
9) Smoke
10) Play music
11) Sleep under the stars
12) Sleep in a tent
13) Walk in the water near a bridge
14) Walk in the water
15) Fish
16) Try to snare dogs
17) Walk off the path
(Submitted by investigator Travis K. Wiens)

A prohibitive sign in Plitvice National Park (Click image to see an enlargement)

A prohibitive sign in the Australia Zoo (Click image to see an enlargement)

"I submit The Australia Zoo, home of Steve and Terri Irwin of Crocodile Hunter fame. This photo was taken in December of 2002 during my honeymoon with who my mother insists is my 'first husband'. But I digress. As you can see, this is prohibitive park."
(Submitted by investigator Connie Chai Scholl)

I'd like to nominate the San Diego Zoo, as evidenced by this photo, taken in May 1999.
(Submitted by investigator Jason Cormier)

A prohibitive sign in the San Diego Zoo (Click image to see an enlargement)

ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA-- Peter and Paul Fortress
"A sign says:

"No speechifying, no selling wares, no dog walking, no jumping off the church tower [apparently this is a big enough problem to warrant a sign], no walking around in tiny swimsuits, no skiing [summer or winter], no littering, no fires, no drinking, no bicycling, no breaking the trees."
(submitted by investigator Cymber Quinn)

A prohibitive sign at the Peter and Paul Fortress (Click image to see an enlargement. and click here to see a close-up sent in by Louis Gacogne)

TUSCON, ARIZONA, USA-- Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
"A sign in the parking lot says:

(submitted by investigator Cymber Quinn)

A prohibitive sign at the Arizona-Sonoma Museum (Click image to see an enlargement)

HANOI, VIETNAM-- Hanoi Opera House
"While not technically at a park, the prohibition on the sign in the attached photo deserves some kind of recognition. It says, 'Please get off motorbike when come in theatre.'"
(Submitted by investigator Alastair Smith)

A prohibitive sign at the Hanoi Opera House (Click image to see an enlargement)

ATHENS, GREECE -- The Acropolis
"This photograph is from the Acropolis in Athens. As you can see, it includes text in English. Some of the prohibitions are quite amusing.'"
(Submitted by investigator Theo Kreouzis)

A prohibitive sign at the Acropolis (Click image to see an enlargement)

A prohibitive sign in Vientiane, Laos

VIENTIANE, LAOS-- The Wattay Noy
"This photograph is of a sign that was posted at the hotel "Wattay Noy" fifteen years ago. I don't know if it is still existing."
(Submitted by investigator Louis Gacogne )