7 Ways to Activate Streets

As the value of public spaces comes into focus, this article shares seven case studies of street furniture being used to help improve community wellbeing.

Both tactical pop-ups and permanent installations are featured below, with examples of projects that foster community engagement and measure social impact.

Street Furniture Australia products have been tried-and-tested to activate spaces and deliver results. Select from our range to bring life, joy and comfort to your community.

Case 1. Creating Millions of Smiles

Woden Experiment was a six-month prototype installation by the ACT Government that aimed to bring life, joy and comfort to Canberra’s Woden Town Square. Brightly coloured seats and tables were configured in random positions to create a casual and welcoming vibe. Community interviews, observations and workshops were at the heart of this project. More about the project here.

Project: Woden Experiment, Woden Town Centre, ACT
Year: 2018 – 2019
Client: ACT Government (Initial Concept Design by Context). Event programs managed by Woden Community Services.
Products Shown: Forum SeatForum Low TableCafe Round TableCafe Stool

Aerial view of Woden Experiment.
Forum Seat, Cafe Round Table and Cafe Stools in Telemagenta Pink, Bondi Blue, Sensation Orange and Viper Green.

Case 2. A Busy Streetscape

The Aria Seating System entices people to stop along a busy street by offering places to rest, meet, dine, and even bring the laptop outside. This smart cities project uniquely combined placemaking, industrial design and smart technology to create engaging spaces for the Federal Smart Cities and Suburbs Program. See more about the project.

Project: ChillOUT Hub, Belgrave Street, Kogarah, NSW
Year: 2019 – 2020
Client: Georges River Council, UNSW and University of Sydney
Products Shown: Aria Seating SystemCafe Round TableCafe Macchiato TableCafe Stool

Aria Seating System with Wood Without Worry aluminium battens in Spotted Gum and Textura Monument frames.
ChillOUT Hubs are prototype smart open-air community spaces being tested on site.

Case 3. Physical Distancing with View

Brisbane City Council created a green riverside community retreat with new furniture, trees, landscaping and pathways for pedestrians and cyclists in an upgrade for the West End Riverside Parklands. Visitors can rest and watch the river on Mall Sun Lounges installed on the bank. The battens are powdercoated in a spectrum of green to promote relaxation.

Project: West End Riverside Parklands, QLD
Client: Brisbane City Council
Product: Mall Sun Lounge

Mall Sun Lounges with battens in Pearl White, Lycra Strip Green, Viper Green and Shamrock Green.
Mall Sun Lounges facing the river at sunset.

Case 4. Green Boundaries

Planter boxes bring greenery to soften spaces, contributing to community wellbeing and cooling the urban heat island effect. Use planters to mark out areas and boundaries – delineate activation footprints to make installations feel less exposed and increase social comfort for sitting. They can also mark expanded footpaths and cycle lanes for social distancing on the street.

Product: Frame Planter

Frame Planter, rectangular with Textura Woodland Grey panels.
Frame Planters, rectangular with Textura Monument panels.

Case 5. The Moveable Seat

Combine fixed and moveable seats and tables to anchor a design, with a degree of flexibility – allow users to arrange seating to socialise or follow the shade. Forum is a hybrid of a street furniture and patio seat – moveable yet durable for use in the public realm. Forum is available in 1, 3 and 4-seater configurations. See our article on the moveable seat, William H Whyte and the power of choice.

Product: Forum SeatForum Low TableCafe Round TableCafe Stool

Forum Seats and Cafe Round Tables, powdercoated in DuraBright colours.
Flexible settings with Forum Seats, Cafe Round Tables and Cafe Stools.

Case 6. Data for Storytelling

Watch the video below about how #BackyardExperiment boosted visitation by almost 200% through a street activation in Garema Place in Canberra’s CBD. This project, inspired by William Whyte, received the 2018 Australian Smart Cities Award in the Built Environment category by the Smart Cities Council ANZ. A free white paper is also available.

Project: #BackyardExperiment, Garema Place, ACT
Year: 2016
Clients: AILA, ACT Government
Products: Forum Seat, Cafe Round TableCafe Stool

60 movable seats. 8 days. 1 location. This short documentary shows how a colourful pop-up park increased foot traffic by 190% in only 8 days.
A joyful pop-up. Forum Seat in Bondi Blue.

Case 7. Rainbow Bright

Our powdercoat colours feature DuraBright™ for extra fade-resistance and a peace of mind. Add a pop of colour to attract people to spaces, soften hard surfaces and brighten the mood.

Project: St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School, NSW
Products: Mall Curved Slim BenchMall Slim Bench

Mall Curved Slim Benches with Mall Slim Benches powdercoated in a DuraBright rainbow spectrum.
Mall Curved Slim Benches.

Made in Australia

All our products are ISO certified and quality controlled to ISO standards. In-house powder coating offers a wide range of colours, featuring DuraBright for bright palettes with extra fade resistance.

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Join Us For Tea Time (via Zoom or Teams)

Take a quick (and educational) tea break with us! Customers are invited to book in a 10-minute Zoom or Microsoft Teams chat to learn about new products. Presentations are guaranteed no longer than 10-minutes plus Q&A. Choose from: ChillOUT Tree (recommended) Latest Linea additions. Wood Without Worry. Or request a custom presentation. Each participant will receive a T2 gift box (optional). Book by contacting us on teatime@streetfurniture.com, or via the button below. Win one of three BLUNT umbrellas Tea Time bookings for Australian customers during August and September will go into a draw for a chance to win one of three BLUNT umbrellas, valued at up to $159. Winners will be notified on 1st October 2022. Image: BLUNT.

  • 25 sep 2020
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Request a Factory Tour

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  • 18 aug 2022
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Linea on show in San Diego with Spruce & Gander

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World-First Smart ‘ChillOUT Hubs’ Designed and Built in Australia

New experimental open-air smart hubs, created by Street Furniture Australia at our studio and factory in Western Sydney, have been officially launched by Georges River Council Mayor Kevin Greene on Thursday February 20, 2020. “ChillOUT Hubs aim to offer some relief in our densifying cities by providing opportunities to meet, work or rest, and spend more time outdoors,” says Street Furniture Australia Head of Innovation June Lee Boxsell. “Each hub packs a punch – integrating shade, seats and tables, charging stations, solar power, sensors, lighting, public WiFi, greenery, smart fountains and smart bins – a big feat combining tech, industrial design and placemaking,” she says. Three hubs are already installed in the Georges River Council region in south Sydney as part of a pilot study for the Australian Government’s Smart …

  • 26 feb 2020
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Canterbury-Bankstown Reignites Future Street

The City of Canterbury Bankstown transformed a section of North Terrace in Bankstown into an interactive experience for a week in June. The Future Street exhibit showcased how landscape, infrastructure and technology may advance the city to become more liveable, productive and sustainable. Future Street Canterbury-Bankstown also highlighted two of the city’s major projects under consultation: the ‘Smart CBCity Roadmap‘ and ‘Bankstown Complete Streets Transport and Place Plan‘. The 2019 pop-up follows the original 2017 Future Street activation, held in front of Customs House in Circular Quay – a project designed by Place Design Group with the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, Smart Cities Council ANZ and the Internet of Things Alliance Australia. To help demonstrate these ideas, product vendors including Street Furniture Australia, Smart Sensor, Lime, Andreasen’s Green and …

  • 12 aug 2019
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Activists Honoured With Pride Seats

Seven special-edition rainbow Pride Seats, donated by Street Furniture Australia to the Inner West Council to celebrate marriage equality, have now been installed. Each seat recognises a local activist who has advanced LGBTIQ human rights, equity and inclusion. They are found in the suburbs of Newtown, Rozelle, Marrickville, Leichhardt, Summer Hill and Lilyfield. The unveiling … The first rainbow seat, installed in Newtown, was unveiled in an emotional ceremony attended by many of the dedication nominees, their families, friends and the community. Particularly moving speeches were given by the loved ones of those recognised posthumously. Elder Aunty Jenny Thomsen opened the event with thoughts on rainbows as symbols of healing and love, saying the seats will “reflect light out” into the community. “Public art is very important because it expresses who were are as a community …

  • 17 dec 2018
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