Street furniture

Street furniture

Street furniture is a collective term for objects and pieces of equipment installed on streets and roads for various purposes, including
benches, bollards, post boxes, phone boxes, streetlamps, street lighting, traffic lights, traffic signs, bus stops, grit bins, tram stops, taxi stands, public lavatories, fountains and memorials, and waste receptacles. An important consideration in the design of street furniture is how it affects road safety.

General descriptions

Street name signs identify streets, for the benefit of visitors, especially postal workers and the emergency services. They may also indicate the district in which the street lies.

A bench is essentially a chair made for more than one person, usually found in the central part of any settlement (such as plazas and parks). They are often provided by the local councils or contributors to serve as a place to rest and admire the view. Armrests in between are sometimes provided to prevent people lying down and/or to prevent people from sitting too close to someone who likes to keep some distance.

Bollards are posts, short poles, or pillars, with the purpose of preventing the movement of vehicles onto sidewalks or grass etc.

Post boxes, also known as mail boxes, are found throughout the world, and have a variety of forms: round pillar style found in Japan and the U.K. (the two feature a difference in that the Japanese version has a round lid while the UK version is flat); rectangular blue boxes in the United States; red and yellow boxes with curved tops in Australia, some on poles. The Canadian version is a red box with a slanted back top.

Phone boxes or telephone booths are prominent in most cities around the world, and while ranging drastically in the amount of cover they offer users, e.g. many only cover the phone itself while others are full booths, are instantly recognisable. The widespread use of mobile phones has resulted in a decrease in their numbers.

Streetlamps are designed to illuminate the surrounding area at night, serving not only as a deterrent to criminals but more importantly to allow people to see where they're going. The colour of streetlamps' bulbs differ, but generally are white or yellow.

Traffic lights (or traffic signals) usually include three colours: green to represent "go", amber to inform drivers that the colour will alternate shortly and red to tell drivers to stop. They are generally mounted on poles or gantries or hang from wires.

Traffic signs warn drivers of upcoming road conditions such as a "blind curve", speed limits, etc. Direction signs tell the reader the way to a location, although the sign's information can be represented in a variety of ways from that of a diagram to written instructions. Direction signs are usually mounted on poles. Recently, illumination has started to be added in order to aid nighttime users.

Public lavatories allow pedestrians the opportunity to use restroom facilities, either for free or for a per-use fee.

Local significance

Street furniture itself has become as much a part of many nations' identities as dialects and national events, so much so that one can usually recognise the location by their design; famous examples of this include:

* the red telephone boxes of Britain
* the residential post boxes of the United States
* the streetlamps and metro entrances of Paris.

Historical street furniture

The Tiergarten park in Berlin has a collection of antique streetlamps from around the world, both gas and electric.

Since most items of street furniture are of a utilitarian nature, authorities generally keep them up-to-date and replace them regularly (usually to conform to regulations, safety codes, etc.). Because of this, old, outdated, obsolete, or even non-functional street furniture can be rare sights and hold a special fascination and inspire nostalgia for many people.

Outdoor advertising and street furniture

* Posters are a part of out-of-home media (also referred to as OOH). The presentation of backlit posters is done in display boxes or street furniture components like mega-displays or billboards. To install these street furniture components on public ground, city councils have to agree. To get these permissions (Europe, Asia and part of the US) services and fees are offered to the cities by the outdoor advertisers.

* In Europe there is a heavy competition for public spots to do advertising in different poster formats since these spots generate high contact figures – means many people can possibly remember a presented advertising message on a major road or square.

* The presentation of this advertising has to fit in the overall public planning rules of cities and their architecture. These requirements lead to interesting design approaches for poster presentation in different formats.

* Street furniture families were designed to fit these needs. Over the years they were completed with additional components like [
] and automatic toilet facilities and kiosks to name a few.

* To finance this infrastructure long term contracts (10 to 15 years) are signed between cities and outdoor advertising companies.

* Cities are often put in a situation to decide on new concepts when they are not familiar with the issues, since new contracts occur only very seldom. This knowledge gap is closed by a special advisor—the street furniture report.

* This advisor gives cities some independent ideas on how to act in this surrounding (rather than reacting) since public grounds can not be enlarged.

See also

* Roads
* Park furniture
* Public art
* Door furniture
* Garden furniture
* Historical marker

External links

* [ Urban Art Projects Street Furniture]
* [ Street & Garden Furniture Co.]
* [ Street Furniture project Romania]
* [ City of Boston, Mass. (USA) Street Furniture Program]
* [ Street Furniture & Amenities in Vancouver, B.C., Canada]
* [ / Street furniture] The rails, bollards and phone boxes of London's West End.


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Look at other dictionaries:

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