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  • Arifah Rahaman-Aronson
  • Julia Petrunina
  • Carmen Guerreiro
  • Sandra Arnet
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  • Pratt Grad ComD
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Discuss

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  • Frankle

    great stuff - in Sydney I proposed the use of cheap lightweight stackable plastic chairs (you know - $10 each) that could be put out in the Town Hall Square each day - if someone stole them no biggie - they've since done so and last time I looked they were very popular.

    Similarly in our new Darling Quarter they put out folding deck chairs on the lawn - everytime I walk past on a pleasant day they're also typically fully occupied

    and the nice thing as your article suggests is that by not fixing them in place, people can move them into any configuration they like - whether alone or in a group - to find their perfect arrangement to enjoy or face the sun or shade as they desire - they also feel in control so more engaged in and likely to savour the moment

    I'm thinking of suggesting to our resident building committee that we place a bench in a small (maybe 5 foot square) space at the corner of our street - facing north-west it would be ideal to sit and enjoy the late afternoon/sunset - and with passing pedestrians in crossing directions, other folk would be likely also to congregate for a chat and feel engaged in their community as well

  • Mary Muszynski

    Hey Meghan! Great project to explore social space! Consider adding tables or designing the seating so it can be complied into a table.

  • Meghan Talarowski

    It's inspiring to see so many people engaging with our project and getting as excited about it as we are! The bench project started as an entrepreneurship opportunity for local youth, growing from participation in Public Workshop's individual projects, such as the Pop Up Playground that we did last fall and Smith Adventure Playground that we did this summer. The design is evolving as the kids perfect their craft, and we are working on a Kickstarter campaign to support their efforts to expand the program though out Philadelphia. Any and all suggestions on how to make the benches better, places to locate them, or other ways to promote community are welcome!

  • SocialWealth

    I don't have a problem with the term Bench Bombing, yet it does seem to draw more of a focus on the activity of what your group does--upgrading social engaging in our public spaces. And that's a good thing. But I'm curious if you anticipate that activity to scale? It's possible the act itself could become something branded in its own identity and spread organically, like Flash Mobbing. Perhaps that's what you guys are going for? That could work very well with other groups willing to create an inventory of benches and get them into public spaces in the right place at the right time, as you've all done.

    Maybe the bench design itself could be branded and named something, to draw attention to it being a central part of the activity. Because from the pictures above it does look like you guys have created a unique product that deserves its own identity and could also drive a rapid spread of these civil behaviors into public spaces as well... maybe even brand the instructions of how to use the bench on it? You could call them Busker Benches, or some-such. Just musing out loud.

    Good stuff---love when groups help citizens better enjoy our public spaces. Cheers!

  • Naomi Mastachi

    Hi ! Nice to involve society in this kind of events. I participated in a similar project in Milan, with the Cultural Association Esterni. Urban Socialization project! Check out this links: http://www.esterni.org/ita/contenuti/index.php?ref=viavigevano , http://publicdesignfestival.tumblr.com/post/18851613749/via-vigevano-is-a-narrow-street-of-milan-with-a , http://www.esterni.org/ita/contenuti/viewPeventi.php?y=2012&m=03&d=6, http://www.naomimastachi.com/index.php/pubsp/vigev

  • Michael Walsh

    So much better than bombing and killing in the Middle Eastern countries we occupy...

  • Nancy Bruning

    This is totally cool. I especially love the instant flexibility. But why stop there? Don't just sit there--do something. In my field of outdoor exercise for public health, we're using benches and other outdoor furniture as exercise props. See, for example, "101 Things to Do on a Park Bench. at www.nancercize.net.

  • JEinDC

    Love this - using social media to tell all and think that this works in public AND private spaces like the PA Conv. Center IN Phila. So here's my idea - and I'd like credit please: turn this into a CSR project. Get the benches for people to use in the Center for a convention .. in the trade show, in the hallways, anywhere even in sessions. During the convention, have people paint them in fun colors, designs, etc., in water proof paint (maybe a shellac on top to ensure they last?) and donate them to some groups in Phila. - schools, shelters, anywhere. I love this! Am recommending for a client w/ a 2014 Phila.meeting.

  • Brian Phelps

    Inspirational project. William H. Whyte taught us long ago how important this is. Wish we could have more movable furniture in our public spaces.

    • Drew Maifeld

      Fun to see a reply from someone I know.

      Stay cool Brian :)

  • Paul Chenoweth

    I love the idea..not crazy about the "bombing" reference. How about "Bench Belonging" or "Bench Blitzing"? Also, what sort of discussion is happening around the liability of bench failure/injury? I really DO love the concept...it is very 'community building' in a number of ways!

    • gosha

      blitz |blits|
      noun
      1 an intensive or sudden military attack.
      • ( the Blitz )the German air raids on Britain in 1940–41.

      ...

      ORIGIN World War II: abbreviation of blitzkrieg.

      – Oxford American Dictionary

      • Paul Chenoweth

        Since the context is non-military, see also blitz -noun:
        2.
        any swift, vigorous attack, barrage, or defeat: a blitz of commercials every few minutes.
        3.
        Football. act or instance of charging directly for (the passer) as soon as the ball is snapped; red-dogging.

  • John Wynn

    You have given new meaning to BYOB...Bring Your Own Bench,,,that being said...people are more engaged when they are closer to the action. The problem with most public spaces is that seating is fixed and can not be moved. I love the idea of bringing movable benches to public spaces. And I am thrilled to here that the project is gaining momentum. I am curious how you determine where and when you will be at a particular location.

    • Adele Peters

      Ha, yes. Or BYOB=Build Your Own Bench...I'm looking forward to seeing how this grows, too.