2024 Urban Design and Street Furniture Trends: People, the Planet and Placemaking

Three key concepts are set to shape urban design and street furniture trends in 2024 with a specific focus on the three Ps: People, the Planet and Placemaking.

We are proud to be an industry leader committed to the creation of liveable and accessible public spaces and embracing the mega trend to build well-being and resilience for the community and climate through well-designed urban streetscapes and outdoor spaces.

2024 Urban design and street furniture trends: for people

First and foremost for 2024 is a focus on People.  Parks, playgrounds and streetscapes play a vital role in creating happier, healthier communities which foster social cohesion and social equity. Providing these spaces with furniture and amenities to improve the human experience of these spaces and how people can use them is a must. Accessibility and inclusivity for all community members is also necessary as part of this.

The trends we are excited about include:

  • The concept of the ‘urban living room’ where people can gather, enjoy fresh air and space. This has been seen in Melbourne with street furniture from 60 different countries in one area, ranging from exercise equipment from Los Angeles, to a climbing frame from India.  
  • Design focused on the human experience: guided by consultation and engagement with those in the community who are going to use it.
  • ‘Sidewalk culture’ / pedestrian friendly streets: mixed use, walkable places are becoming increasingly available.
  • Modular seating/configuration: allowing street furniture to be easily reconfigured and added to at any time. Just like our modular seating solutions like Liffiton or Legend suites with complementary pieces that can be arranged to create comfortable and inviting communal spaces.
  • Equal ground:  While the trend in recent years to incorporate parks and open spaces into urban and residential developments has ensured communities have fantastic facilities on their doorsteps, there are still gaps. This calls on Councils, urban planners and developers to provide greater equity of access to parks and open spaces and meet community needs across different demographics.  This could be in the form of more and upgraded recreation spaces and amenities in existing residential areas for all to use and ‘chill out zones’ in parks and public spaces. ‘Linear parks’ can also promote walking, running and cycling or relaxation along un-used transport corridors or maximise lake, river and beachside locations.

2024 Urban design and street furniture trends: for the planet

Climate resilience is clearly a priority with the knowledge that how we live, work and play all have an impact on the planet. Urban planners and landscape architects in New Zealand and abroad are working to make our cities greener and cooler, and transport options more environmentally friendly. Street furniture now needs to be manufactured to withstand these elements more than ever before.

Trends that support this shift to be kind to our planet include:

  • Parklets – A parklet is a small zone where a car parking space has been replaced with seating so people can rest and relax, and wait comfortably for public transport.  We are excited to have already been involved in introducing this trend into New Zealand. The MyWay Parklet in downtown Timaru is a cosy spot for commuters to wait for the city’s new on-demand transport service.  The ‘parklet’ is a relocatable stopping bay for MyWay vans, being trialled as an alternative to the city’s scheduled, timetabled bus service.
  • ‘Multimodal connection’ – connecting people with the places they live and work; making the journey easy, efficient, pleasant.
  • End of ride facilities such as bike racks and shelters. We cater for those who like to wheel around in the great outdoors with our huge range of bike & scooter racks and outdoor shelters. Most of our popular bike racks and shelters can be integrated to create a smart and practical parking solutions that can accommodate anything from four to 40 bikes.
  • Eco-friendly and sustainable materials continue to be on-trend. Notably, the use of seating around trees in ‘social circles’ in outdoor classrooms, or seating with planters are proving popular. Moreover, it encourages conversation and connection, inclusion and meets sensory needs. These adaptations are all good for our planet.

2024 Urban design and street furniture trends: to place make.

Placemaking approaches urban design with a priority on people over infrastructure; on promoting social interaction and cultural exchange.  Modular designs and street furniture are an innovative way to reclaim public spaces and provide social venues.

Two main trends here include:

  • ‘Reclaiming public spaces’ – redevelopment of spaces for new uses and people in response to increasing urbanisation and suburbanisation. Clever and compact; small, shared spaces spread out across cities are a way to breathe new life into urban centres and provide human interaction. ‘Micro parks’ optimise the use of space in dense, built-up urban environments.
  • Placemaking –  local or culturally inspired themes incorporated into street furniture such as Maori design in New Zealand. This helps to build urban character rooted in a local area.

Let us support you realise some of these trends in 2024 making places that are good for people and planet.

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