Six Ways that Street Furniture Can Enhance our Public Spaces

As more people shop online, it is important to both communities and businesses that town centres and public spaces look beyond retail to draw people in. A high street or public space which is well designed can create a sense of community. It can also improve the social experience and attract more people into town centres.

Street furniture can enhance any public space, whilst also complementing the existing surroundings .  Although designed to blend in with the surroundings, selecting the right street furniture can alter the appearance, character and perception of a location.

Correct use of street furniture can help the flow of traffic.

Bollards, if used in the correct way can reduce traffic speed, and put restrictions in place. Use of bollards as traffic control reduces the amount of road accidents. Bollards are also great for improving security and promoting pedestrian safety. Using bollards in pedestrian zones means that you can create a  restricted area in which vehicles of a certain size are unable to access.  This then creates a safer area for people to socialise.

Not only can bollards be used for traffic control, planters may also be used as a natural traffic calming solution. Having large planters in pedestrian only zones helps to restrict vehicle access, again enhancing public safety.

Benches and seating areas encourage socialising and create a sense of community.

Benches and seats are not necessarily viewed as an essential part of our lives. However, this humble piece of street furniture is often taken for granted. Having seating areas in public spaces can enhance the sense of community and increase social interaction.

A well designed outdoor area creates an attractive setting for the community to gather. Benches and seats which are carefully placed, create a designated area for people to sit down and socialise.

By surrounding these benches with planters and trees, an aesthetically pleasing environment can be created. This type of environment will entice more people into engaging in social interaction whilst out and about amongst their community.

Complementary street furniture can enhance green spaces and encourage people to engage with the environment.

Green spaces, enhanced by planters, trees and seating, provide a place for people of all ages to rest and relax. Maps and information boards in parks, provide a reason for people to stop and engage with the environment around them.

Planters and trees in town centres have many environmental, economic and social benefits. Plants help to soften the landscape, making a more pleasant and interesting setting. In summer, trees also help to cool streets by providing shade.

Street furniture helps to keep our streets clean and tidy.

Strategic placement of litter bins is essential so that people can dispose of their rubbish quickly and easily. Specialist bins for non-general waste, are also important. These bins allow people to responsibly dispose of waste such as cigarette litter and dog waste. This type of litter can often be found on our streets, however with the means of disposing of these products appropriately we can ensure that public spaces are kept clean and tidy.

Street furniture helps to deter anti-social behaviour.

Well maintained street furniture creates a sense of community, a safe public space where people want to meet and socialise. The positioning of street furniture can discourage antisocial behaviour, while certain materials and constructions can make recovery both swift and affordable should vandals ever strike. The end result is a thriving outdoor space that encourages participation, and a more positive overall experience for everyone.

Installing bike racks and cycle stands encourages cycling and reduces pollution.

The availability of safe, secure cycle parking facilities encourages more people to cycle. This provides an opportunity for more people to visit towns and public spaces.  Cycling helps to reduce pollution levels, and is a cheaper travel option.

By making just a few small design changes, local councils and town planners can make a big difference to the appearance of an outdoor space. Choosing the right street furniture including benches, litter bins, planters and bollards, can enhance public spaces, making them a focal point for our towns and cities.