Street Furniture

What will street furniture look like in the near future?

New York City is hosting a contest to reimagine the way that payphones work in the urban environment.  Reinvent Payphones, will ask teams of designers, urban planners, and technologists to innovate pay phones in the city in order to reflect the changing communication needs of the people.  Some ideas pitched so far include adding wifi and USB connections.  In addition to adapting the use of pay phones, the contest asks teams to redesign the look of payphones in order to improve their appearance as well as the user experience.

This Bike Rack / Street Bench designed by NY MTA also helps manage stormwater runoff (photo courtesy streetblog.net)

This Bike Rack / Street Bench designed by NY MTA also helps manage stormwater runoff (photo courtesy streetblog.net)

This contest introduces a new shift in the look and function in the design of street furniture.  Pay phones, benches, trash and recycling cans, bike racks, planters, street signs, and lampposts all are important pieces of street furniture that influence the way people interact with the urban landscape and it’s important that they need to meet the changing needs of people living and working in the city.

Section 4.4 of Philadelphia’s Complete Streets Handbook has an entire component to address furnishing, which aims to use street furniture to enhance the urban environment while ensuring comfortable passage for pedestrians.

What type of street furniture do we no longer need? Why type of furniture should we have?  What new needs do today’s residents have that can be met with new types of street furniture? Maybe USB charging outlets and WiFi?  Additionally, we need to consider the cost and maintenance of new street amenities.  How will new street furniture function in the city?

Want to know more?

Check out the Reinvent Payphones Contest

Section 4.4 of the Complete Streets Handbook

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