Catering to user groups with street furniture

Catering to user groups with street furniture

Installing street furniture isn’t as easy as picking a location and parachuting it in, there’s a lot of consideration that goes into their placement. This consideration is what separates a good installation from a great one, ensuring it maximally caters to users while ensuring little interference for passers-by. 

User type 

One of the most important things that needs to be considered is the type of person using the street furniture. From adults to children, from the older generation to commuters, these specific user groups have separate and valid needs that can be addressed through specific furniture items and their placement.  

Examples of user groups: 

  • Young children and toddlers 
  • School-age children 
  • Teens and adolescents 
  • The Elderly 
  • Commuters 
  • Disabled people 
  • The blind and visually impaired 

How do we gauge who are going to be the most prolific users? 

Inferences can be made based on key information about the location and surrounding area. This can be arrived at by looking at the facilities, shops, and service providers in the area and gauging their customer and user bases. To be even more pinpoint accurate it may be worth surveying the locals to get an idea of the age groups, preferences, and interests of those that frequent the area. This can then help build up a profile of the wants and needs of various sections of the locations’ user base.  

Examples of key information:  

  • Nearby transport hubs 
  • Parks and playgrounds 
  • Clinics or GP surgeries 
  • Community centres 
  • Nearby schools or nurseries 
  • Care homes 
  • Shopping centres 
  • Takeaways, restaurants, or eateries 

Using this information 

By gathering this information, it can convey what sort of people will use the installation of street furniture, what their interests are, and what they’re looking for when it comes to the street furniture in that area. Where appropriate it may be preferable to cater, in part or wholly, to the dominant audience. This can be done through the aesthetics of the furniture as well as its functionality.  

Examples of how we can cater to these groups through features: 

Young children and toddlers 

  • Mixed height seating for parents and children 
  • Bright colours with playful designs 
  • Interesting shapes or cutouts 
  • Wide and deep seating for stability 
  • Integrated activities and puzzles 
  • School-age children 
  • Graffiti-resistant finish 
  • Interesting colour combinations 
  • Integrated activities 

Teens and adolescents 

  • Graffiti-resistant finish 
  • Vandalism-resistant materials 
  • Built-in anti-skate studs 
  • Communal seating 
  • Large and secure bins 
  • Integrated lighting 

The Elderly 

  • Armrests on benches 
  • Backrests on benches 
  • Angled footrests 


  • Ample seating facing transit stops 
  • Sheltered area e.g., a canopy or shelter

Disabled people 

  • Wheelchair-friendly bench layouts 
  • Shallower seating 
  • Armrests 
  • Backrests 

The blind and visually impaired 

  • Contrasting colours for different surfaces 
  • Tactile markers for directions around the area 
  • Integrated waste management to prevent obstacles 

These are just a few examples of considerations that can be made, and features and functions that can be implemented to cater to specific user audiences. In more general areas where no one user group is dominant, it makes sense to cater universally or within the aesthetic of the surrounding area. But where it’s possible these additions can push an installation over the line from good to fantastic when it comes to the users that utilise them most.