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 to 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. The use of bollards as traffic control reduces the number 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, but 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.

Seats and benches 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. Seats and benches 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 it a more pleasant and interesting setting. In summer, trees also help to cool streets by providing shade.

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.

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By making just a few small design changes, local councils and town planners can make a big difference in the appearance of 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.

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