Feature

STREET FURNITURE

How the introduction of greenery such as planters can rejuvenate urban areas

County council’s strive to make their cities and towns as visually appealing as possible. There are different ways to go about achieving this aim, one of which is through the addition of street furniture. Practical and visually appealing street furniture is an essential element of any urban environment.

Unfortunately, many authorities throughout the country sometimes fail to recognise the importance of street furniture and what it can bring to an urban landscape. Street furniture is effective in this way on a relatively small scale when compared to office and apartment blocks but urban landscape features like architecture, urban spaces and street furniture can certainly play a prominent part in contributing to the daily lives of residents in a particular area and their everyday activities.

There are many different ways that council’s and governments can improve urban spaces but the best way to enhance an area is through the implementation of street furniture. The main reason for this is that out of all of the different urban landscape fixtures, it is street furniture that has the closest and most productive interaction with the area and the people who live there.

Street furniture interacts with all residents of an area offering physical usage and helping them communicate with one another. As well as this it also acts as a focus point of an area and establishes a direct link between various landscape elements and can also become a significant part of the identity of a town or city.

The interaction function of street furniture greatly contributes to a convenient urban life, and can also determine the quality and standard of an urban environment. The importance of street furniture in constructed environments remains an integral part of the landscape. It is also important that government planners and users emphasise the crucial role that street furniture design can play in communities.

Planning authorities in cities and towns have a vast number of different things to take into consideration when they are planning on what is the best way to adapt any urban space to deal with the demands and impact of modern life.

Re-development and the influx of a greater number of residents and visitors to an area that may not necessarily have the space to expand rapidly poses huge challenges to any local authority planners who will often seek cost effective and innovative solutions to this problem.

This issue can become more severe in places like Dublin for example due to the fact that it is a relatively small city that is based around a medieval centre. The reason for this is that there are many different buildings in the capital that have huge historical significance attached to them. It is for this reason that any large scale modification to the urban landscape can be difficult to achieve.

It is not only in the large scale factors like infrastructure that council’s have to take into account. Even small additions to the urban landscape such as planters, when designed and located effectively can make a crucial difference to a town or city and can make it a place that people want to visit and reside in.

No matter how well designed and laid out a modern town or city is it can easily become mundane and dull rather quickly. The constant sights of large buildings, grey walls and sharp corners can result in the residents feeling indifferent and uninspired by their surroundings and may prompt them to move away.

One such way that the character of a town or city can be transformed is through the simple and subtle addition of planters into the landscape. This simple yet effective measure to make an urban space look more vibrant is a sure fire way to prevent an area from looking drab and also featureless.

Planters can instantly bring the streets of a town or city to life in an effective manner. This type of street furniture is also relatively cost effective although some time and financial investment does need to be allocated to the management of the plants. The upkeep involved with planters does mean that the relevant authorities involved in any urban planning will need to consider where the planters will be located and also if there will need to be any extra maintenance staff employed to manage the upkeep.

When executed properly the vitality and vibrancy that new plant life can bring to an area can change its character drastically. Plant life changes its shape and colour during the seasons meaning that it also changes the visual aspect of the urban area that it is located in. The result of this is a flowing and ever changing environment which makes a change from a dull and stagnant landscape. The visual difference that can be created can also be noticed during the winter months as the trees lose their leaves and the branches break up the harsh lines of the buildings in the skyline.

Some other ways to introduce more vibrant greenery into an urban area can include planting larger trees directly into foot paths. Similarly to planters they can require financial investment for their maintenance and general upkeep however they make a sizeable difference to the quality of life for residents and workers in a town or city. Before the introduction of planters residents and workers may only have had a view of the building directly across from them, now they can view a vibrant and colourful city that is full of plants and trees creating an urban landscape where people are happy to live and work in.

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