I love www.brainyquote.com. Where else can you ask for “quotes about chairs” and come up with the exact thought you need?
Nature is by and large to be found out of doors, a location where, it cannot be argued, there are never enough comfortable chairs. Fran Lebowitz
This is true, right? Seating is important!
You walk into a movie theatre and the first question is “where do you want to sit?”
You walk into a crowded bus/train/airport terminal and you ask “is this seat taken?”
And at this time of year, it’s all about sitting on Santa’s lap.
No doubt, when you’re concerned with downtown design, “seating” deserves a discussion all its own.
To many, seating in a downtown setting is synonymous with benches.
Have you ever walked your main downtown thoroughfare and counted the number of benches you have available? You may be surprised by what you find. We did this during an interview process in a very well-known and respected community. You know what we found? Outside of the downtown park, there weren’t any benches. You might want to go for a walk and do your own counting and evaluating.
So number of benches is important.
The condition and look of the benches is a key consideration as well. Do all your benches need to be the same? No. Should they be coordinated? Maybe. Should they all be well-maintained so that people feel comfortable using them. Absolutely!
But all downtown seating does not have to be in the form of benches. Seat walls are a great alternative especially when they double as the sides of permanent landscape containers or fountains. What is at the base of your town clock ~ is there room to create a ring of seats? Do you have any steps that could live a double life as seating?
And what about temporary seating options? Hay bales make great temporary seating during autumn events. The same goes for ice blocks during your winter-themed events. (Just please add blanket-toppers in both cases!)
Many downtowns offer seating with tables in public spaces to service a variety of restaurant patrons as well as the brown bag lunch crowd. The addition of umbrellas adds shade and a pop of color to further enliven spaces.
Where are your main pedestrian-flow intersections? The best views in town? The quiet spaces? Are there seating opportunities there?
Vacant lots are often looked down upon but as we know, they can be some of the best spots for adaptive re-use, including seating. From a simple green space with the ever-so-popular benches, to outdoor dining or gathering spaces, to a downtown amphitheater, the potential is there.
I’ll leave you until 2016 with a final thought ~ never underestimate the power of a welcome seat ~ and another gem from www.brainyquote.com:
When stuck years ago in a job I hated, my only friend was the public bench. As the tedious mornings dragged on, how I would long for the lunch hour, when I would be able to escape the torture of the office and stroll over to the churchyard and into the comforting wooden embrace of one of its benches. Tom Hodgkinson