Why benches?

Benches, perhaps more than any other amenity, shape our public spaces, making them more welcoming, inviting, accessible, and inclusive. Benches have always been proletarian as well as utilitarian: Ancient Romans congregated on public benches, and in medieval Europe, where chairs were reserved for the wealthy and privileged, benches were the most common form of seating.

Public benches offer so much more than a place to just sit down. Benches allow people of all abilities and ages to spend more time outdoors, boosting physical and mental health and connecting them to their community through shared public spaces. Adding benches to commercial districts and city squares allow generations to intermingle, both young families and seniors can participate in a shared public space regardless of age or mobility loss, either through disability or temporary injury. As our population ages, benches will become even more important to help break increasingly daunting trips to the grocery store or to other retail spaces into smaller, more manageable journeys.

Building quality benches: construction and accessibility

A wide variety of bench materials and styles are available, including attractive wood, low maintenance metal, versatile plastic, and sturdy concrete, making them suitable to add to any space you can imagine. User comfort, wear over time, and how the bench will blend with its surroundings should be carefully considered when choosing a bench material. Concrete benches for example, wear well over time, but provide less comfort, while wood benches offer softer seating, but will require more maintenance over time.

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