Why The Correct Placement of Street Furniture Matters!


The placement of street furniture is crucial as it should not be placed in hazardous locations for users and those passing by. It is often not taken into great consideration the most effective and logical areas of placement in indoor and outdoor locations for facilities including shopping centres, public transport stations, parks, educational facilities, nursing homes, hospitals, and government departments. The placement of street furniture needs to take into consideration different elements, such as the demographic of users and types of landscapes they are placed in. Below is a quick guide outlining placement options you may not have considered.

Seats, Benches & Table Settings

The most suitable location for seats and benches should be based on pedestrian traffic and places where there is continuously heavy pedestrian use. A poor location choice would be areas that see little activity such as the front of hidden buildings, spaces hidden from view of active areas, and the front of office buildings that don't have sufficient pedestrian activity. Any place within a facility that serves as a space where people will wait, meet, or socialise, seating should be integrated. The seating should be situated in these areas so that when they are not in use, they don’t create a sense of separation or emptiness.

In outdoor landscapes, seating should be arranged where there is permanent or sufficient protection from the wind and should provide a choice for either sitting in the shade or sun. Throughout parks or outdoor facilities that see increased foot traffic, it is important that seats or benches are set out in reasonable rest intervals. This needs to take into consideration the needs of the disabled and elderly and that the placement of seating should be near other amenities such as toilet blocks, bus shelters, waste bins, and visitor/waiting areas.

The placement of benches can also be set at right angles to each other to create socialisation or collaborative discussion between users. If they are placed in a row, they prevent the ability of group conversation. If seating is simply placed directly opposite only, it will deter people from using as it forces strangers to make direct eye contact which may be uncomfortable. The placement of a group of benches or seats also needs to accommodate for wheelchairs and walkers for the disabled without disturbing pedestrians.


Waste Bins

The most common mistake that is made when organising bin locations is simply putting them wherever there is empty space, instead of logically placing them where they will be most utilised. If they are placed in empty spaces, precious budgets will be wasted on placing bins where they will not be used effectively, whilst other places in the facility suffer with inadiquate litter bin options. More often than not, people are not inclined to change their walking, sitting or eating path simply to find a litter bin, so the appropriate placement is crucial!

Adequate exposure of waste bins is fundamental for their correct usage, they need to be highly visible and accessible to minimise littering. The placement of waste bins should strategically be where they are most likely to be used in differing areas, facilities, and outdoor areas. This includes crowded areas like busy intersections, close to crosswalks, in close proximity of take-away food outlets, bus stops, in shopping centres, and outside building entrances such as offices and retail outlets. Another primary location where waste bins are considered a necessity is near other street furniture items like benches, seats, shelters, picnic settings, and playground equipment. Although they should be within close proximity to street furniture items, they should also be situated far enough from seating areas to not be affected by the unpleasant rubbish odour and insects it may attract.

Recycling streams aren’t always ideal in locations such as fast-food outlets where it is possible that there are high levels of waste contamination, and the rubbish is no longer fit to be recycled. In this situation, it may be best to place a general waste bin to ensure rubbish is still disposed of correctly and not left on furniture or thrown on the floor. As with all street furniture, the waste bins need to be placed in areas where they can be accessed by the whole community, including the elderly, people in wheelchairs, and young children.

There are many different points of consideration in terms of ensuring the correct waste bin or waste management stream is selected, and in which location they will be best utilised. Over time, it may be evident that certain street furniture items are not successful in certain locations and a new placement plan will need to be established. When the high traffic areas can be identified, what type of waste the users of the area are disposing of, and the types of activities being performed in the area, the selection of street furniture and its placement will become clear!

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