Lin Yao Liao. Bench. February 03rd , 2018.
The most important decision that needs to be made in selecting a bench, or any other type of public space amenity, is whether it is needed and whether it will be used. This requires visiting the area and noting the types of seating that already exist; the types of land uses (e.g., shops, offices, residences) that are along the street; and the potential clientele (e.g., office workers, shoppers) in the area who would be likely to use the benches. Locations where people already sit (on steps, ledges, etc.) should also be noted. This type of on-site observation is important in making decisions about where, how many, and what types of benches are needed.
Because many cities are not adequately staffed for a good bench maintenance program, benches are sometimes left derelict and broken benches are left in disrepair. This problem is magnified when people see the neglect and then make generalizations that influence their perceptions or feelings about the entire downtown.
Sometimes benches are vandalized. There is no bench that is vandal resistant. However, being aware of the likelihood of vandalism in particular areas can affect the type of bench selected for that area. The best solution to vandalism lies not in the type of bench used, but in developing an understanding of what types of vandalism occur, at what times, by what types of people, and then in trying to develop a program that will prevent it from occurring. The key to preventing vandalism in a downtown is locating benches where adjacent storeowners will assume some responsibility for their use and maintenance.
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