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.
Since the launch of StreetSeats.org earlier this year, over 200 street seats have been documented in New York City on our open source map. Thank you to all who have submitted Street Seats that provide a place to rest, eat, read or socialize in front of your favorite coffee shop, next to your neighborhood bookstore, by your local art gallery, around a tree on your block, and elsewhere in your neighborhood.
We are eager for submissions in other American cities as well as international examples to increase the geographic locations of the Street Seats database as widely as possible If you find street seats in your neighborhood, please submit them here so they can be added to the map. Please share this post with friends, family, and colleagues who live in other cities!
As a reminder- a Street Seat is an unsanctioned, chair, bench or seat set up outdoors by a business or individual to make the urban environment more comfortable and livable. You can find examples in our photo gallery.
Enjoy Street Seats in the upcoming warm, summer days!
We recently had our first ever collaborative mapping party and we are happy to report that it was a big success. Thanks to the help of 15 collaborators we were able to double the size of our seat index, which is now at a healthy 211. Brendan over at Neighborland was instrumental in the organization and promotion of the event and we are grateful to The Magician for allowing us to use their space for the after party.
The day of the mapping party we sent people out in small groups to cover distinct neighborhoods. We had groups visit the West Village, Chinatown, the Lower East Side, and beyond. This approach accounts for the recent increase in the clustering of dots on the map. Check out some of the new seats that the group captured and don’t forget to add your own photos to the mix. You can even do it while you’re waiting for your nails to dry.