The always interesting Citylab writes recently about the redesign of Government Plaza in Charlotte (bordered by East Fourth and Third Streets). Sadly, the redesign failed to attract patrons - our opinion is that it is too heavy on hardscape, and too light on character. The article points out that furniture choices -ungainly fixed metal fixtures- were not attractive and did not convince passersby to stay.
Things started to change when the space was used for “GovPorch” an activation of the space led by the Center for Active Design, promoting sensible programs (such as food trucks, art and play materials, music) and the introduction of movable furniture. The article puts the emphasis on the role programs played, but conversely, it is unlikely they would have succeeded without the type of furniture we at Myplacemaking.com offer for use in all public spaces.
Simply put: there are universal needs in how people use the urban outdoor public realm. They need to be able to channel the sun when it is cold, or shade when it is too hot. They need to be able to rest, and offering them a variety of seating options is key to the success of any space. They need tables or other suitable surfaces to place their food, or their writing or reading materials. Visitors wish to enjoy greenery, and since most spaces are designed with an overemphasis on stone and concrete, planters are the tool of choice to soften those conditions. For families, elements that will help focus the kid’s activities over a period of time -art, reading and others- are essential. Since few spaces are designed with those in mind, carts can fill in the gap and support programs.
Time after time, movable furniture can be used to improve or -as in this Charlotte example- rescue public space. We can help you find the right mix of products to get there.
You can find the original article here: