Simple Seating Drives Change in Public Spaces

Making lighter, quicker, cheaper improvements can mean something as simple as providing seats in public spaces.

For example, when the public library in Wallkill, NY, wanted to activate green space around the building, it installed colorful lawn chairs along with signs inviting people to relax.

“This effort changed the look and feel of the library lawn from formal and manicured to comfortable and playful,” say organizers. “The area now serves as a gathering place for kids and families to play, have lunch, make music, and meet with friends.” This type of low-cost program is popping up across the country.

In Frankfort, IL, Adirondack chairs are converted to art pieces that invite the public to linger outside downtown businesses. The Sit a Bit Chair Art is then sold as a fundraiser for the local historical society during a wine walk and “chair-ity” auction.

And in New York City, the DoTank is credited with developing the chair-bombing movement. Chair-bombing involves building chairs out of used materials such as shipping pallets, and then placing the chairs in public spaces in order to improve comfort, social activity, and sense of place.

The full article appeared in our print edition. To always get the full story, read Downtown Idea Exchange.

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