Public realm investment supports safer socially distanced streets and economic benefits
The investment in improved and safer streets using street furniture for social distancing will bring added economic benefits to the UK’s towns and cities.
With the Covid-19 situation expected to continue well into 2021, local authorities, town planners and private developers are having to create permanent solutions to allow for social distancing in high streets, retail centres, commercial and residential areas.
According to Landmark Street Furniture, the investment in redesigned public realm areas using well-designed street furniture will help lure people back to shopping during and post-pandemic.
Safer socially distanced streets
Robert Hawgood, the company’s Managing Director, said: “Shoppers and workers want to feel safe in their environments. Temporary measures, such as pedestrianised streets and pop-up cycle lanes, are being converted into more permanent solutions.
“We’re at a turning point in town planning where architects and planners are having to look at the medium to long-term. And this means integrating permanent street furniture and crowd control measures.
“In many cases, the temporary measures are simply for controlling social distancing. But these impact on the look and feel of a street visually.
Good design can influence people back into town centres
“Good design can enhance the aesthetic appeal of a street or commercial area, thus attracting more people in. It’s like having a ‘feel-good factor.’ If an area is appealing to walk and shop in, then you’ll attract more people in.”
He said the integration of other measures, such as secure bicycle storage systems, also helped attract more people into such as areas.
This is backed up by a survey undertaken by Bristol and Hove City Council when it undertook improvement to a street.
New Road was redesigned several years ago to enhance the commercial and social elements of the street. This included pedestrianisation and street furniture.
Street furniture provides economic benefits
Eighty per cent of businesses in the street said the redesign brought “benefits extending well beyond financial profit.” Seventy-three per cent said there was an enhanced sense of community.
The research into the wider community found 90.5 per cent saying the enhancements were a good thing.
“The research demonstrated how the changes made a positive difference to all involved. From businesses to shoppers, to residents and other users.”
The Design Council has also backed up the value of public spaces that are improved. “A high-quality public environment can have a significant impact on the economic life of urban centres, big or small, and is, therefore, an essential part of any successful regeneration strategy,” states it’s the Value of Public Space” report.
It added: “For retailers, a good-quality public environment can improve trading by attracting more people into an area. It has been shown, for example, that well-planned improvements to public spaces within town centres can boost commercial trading by up to 40 per cent and generate significant private sector investment.”
Landmark Street Furniture has seen a significant increase in enquiries and sales from the public and private sectors for its range of street furniture and secure cycle storage.
This has included:
- Secure cycle storage
- Landscape structures and shelters
Landmark has introduced timber planters that are ready with soil and plants and can replace bollards and cones for spacing and assisting movement.
Green screening furniture has also been introduced for use between seating areas.