Street seats in Montreal create new public spaces


Photo of the intersection from the Arrondissement du Plateau-Mont-Royal Facebook page

A recent video by Streetfilms introduced an intersection improvement on the corner of Fairmount Ave. and Clark St. in the Mile End neighborhood of Montreal.  Not only do the new sidewalk curb extensions, or bumpouts, with plants and street furniture slow automobile traffic and make it safer for pedestrians to cross the street, they provide viable and open public space.  The addition of brightly colored street seats in the “petite placette” create a welcoming atmosphere for pedestrians or bikers to stop to enjoy food from nearby shops, relax, and have “heureuses rencontres,” or happy encounters.  Intersection reclamation projects such as these provide placemaking opportunities in urban areas where access to public space is threatened by wide, car dominated streets or a lack of green space.  The street seats instantly encourage passersby to stop to enjoy the area instead of merely passing through on bike or foot.  This intersection reclamation project is just one initiative by the borough council administration to increase public space.  Others include green alleys, street pianos, public markets, and more placettes.