This happens often to me: I find myself in downtown London looking to relax and take a load off my feet. Sometimes I’m looking to sit down and eat some food I picked up from a local vendor, other times I simply want to read a book, perhaps use the LAWN or just take-in my surroundings (I love people watching) but more often than not I run into a problem: There isn’t really any place to sit in downtown London.
Sure, I can walk to the market and grab table a there, head into the library if I want to be inside or go to Victoria park if I don’t want to be on the street, but what about the times when I’m walking along Dundas St. and want to sit down. I search and search, up and down the street but find it hard to find an appropriate place to sit.
The one or two benches I know of get removed from time to time, either when construction takes place or if there is a need to deal with ‘vagrants’. Ledges around planters where I’d love to sit have metal affixed to them for what I assume is an attempt to limit skateboarders. What is a person to do?
What if we looked at the urban spaces we inhabit in a different way. What if we actually thought ‘outside the box’ and did something different for once?
While these students looked at scaffolding and asked themselves ‘what can we do with this?’ what would happen if we extended this thinking further.
Imagine if we took the idea of Softwalks to lamp posts, existing sign posts, fire hydrants, empty spaces on sections of walls or simply installed these sporadically along the street supported by their own smaller posts. Imagine how much usable seating we’d have downtown.
I’m tired of trying to find places that I can occupy so that I can inhabit, take in and celebrate the urban spaces I love so much. Certainly I can’t be alone in this?