Paper: The Physical and Social Normative Properties of Street Furniture

Dellenbaugh, Mary. 2017. The Physical and Social Normative Properties of Street Furniture. Research paper for the project “Hacking Urban Furniture” by the Center for Art and Urbanism.

The organization of public space and the objects in it, most notably street furniture such as benches, bus stop shelters, advertising pollards, and public restrooms, determine which uses are possible or allowed and help to create and confirm norms about how we should move through and use space and which persons or groups are welcome there. … The author argues that, when street furniture is provided to the urban public without its input, these structures create a ubiquitous backdrop for everyday life which enforces official narratives about how and by whom public space is supposed to be used. A critical view to urban street furniture should therefore ask who gets to use, change and adapt public space and to what end(s) and what other voices could be involved in the decision process surrounding which structures are built and how?

Read the full article here. There is a link to download the paper at the bottom of the page.

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