5 considerations for City Councils when installing street furniture
Date published 14 January 2016
Installing street furniture
Street furniture installation can be difficult even when you think you’ve accounted for everything. Here are five easy tips to help you turn your plan into reality.
When designing your street furniture installation, make sure it’s consistent with the rest of the public space. Consider the types of users likely to use it; for example, people will want benches to sit on, but cyclists may like some racks to chain up their bikes while they rest. Include a range of street furniture to keep everyone satisfied.
Weather resistant materials
Public furniture not only has to withstand the use of countless people, but the tests of time and nature as well. Timber and aluminium are fine examples of durable materials that are also comfortable to use. Long-standing street furniture gives an installation a timeless feel, making it an even greater investment.
Placement of furniture
Once you’ve chosen your street furniture, make sure you install it in places that make sense. Benches should be easily accessible from high foot traffic areas, so weary pedestrians can easily find a seat. Follow your plan only as far as it makes sense; sometimes what looks great on paper doesn’t quite work in practice.
It’s not just about furniture
Remember that people need more than a place to sit. Include shades and shelters to give relief from the sun, and drinking fountains so people can quench their thirst. Good lighting will allow your installation to serve people even at night, and you can even make clever use of lighting displays (for example, in fountains and water features) to attract and entertain people.
As your legal safety net against accidents, public liability insurance is extremely important. There are two broad kinds: fault-based systems treat each case as unique and if necessary allow the aggrieved their day in court; no fault systems are less flexible but indemnify you against being sued, which makes for more efficient resolutions.
New Zealand has instituted compulsory no fault public liability insurance, but Australians have a mix of fault and no fault schemes available across many injury types. Wherever you live, it’s vital you choose the cover best suited both your needs and the types of injuries most likely to occur.