Street furniture

Street furniture is a collective term for objects and pieces of equipment installed on streets and roads for various purposes, including benches, bollards, post boxes, phone boxes, streetlamps, street lighting, traffic lights, traffic signs, direction signs, bus stops, Grit bins, tram stops, taxi stands, outside lavatories, fountains and memorials, and waste receptacles.


General descriptions

  • A bench is essentially a chair made for more than one person, usually found in the central part of any settlement (such as plazas and parks). They are often provided by the local councils or contributors to serve as a place to rest and admire the view. Armrests in between are sometimes provided to prevent people lying down and/or to prevent people from sitting too close to someone who likes to keep some distance.
  • Bollards are posts usually of concrete or wood, with the purpose of preventing the movement of vehicles onto sidewalks or grass etc.
  • Post boxes, or mail boxes, are found throughout the world, and range from the round pillar style found in Japan and the U.K. (the two feature a difference in that the Japanese version has a round lid while the U.K. version is flat) to the well-known rectangular blue boxes of the United States.
  • Phone boxes or telephone booths are prominent in most cities around the world, and while ranging drastically in the amount of cover they offer users, e.g. many only cover the phone itself while others are full booths, are instantly recognisable. The wide-spread use of mobile phones has resulted in a decrease in their numbers.
  • Streetlamps are designed to illuminate the surrounding area at night, serving not only as a deterrent to criminals but more importantly to allow people to see where they're going. The colour of streetlamps' bulbs differ, but generally are white or yellow.
  • Traffic lights (or traffic signals) usually include three colours: green to represent "go", amber to inform drivers that the colour will alternate shortly and red to tell drivers to stop. They are generally mounted on poles or hang from wires.
  • Direction signs tell the reader the way to a location, although the sign's information can be represented in a variety of ways from that of a diagram to written instructions. Direction signs are usually mounted on poles. Recently, illumination has started to be added in order to aid night-time users.
  • Public lavatories allow pedestrians the opportunity to use restroom facilities, either for free or for a small per-use fee.

Other information

Street furniture itself has become as much a part of many nations' identities as dialects and national events, so much so that one can usually recognise the location by their design; famous examples of this include:

The Tiergarten park in Berlin has a collection of antique streetlamps from around the world, both gas and electric.

Outdoor advertising and street furniture

  • Posters are a part of out-of-home media (also referred to as OOH). The presentation of back-lit-posters is done in display boxes or street furniture components like mega-displays or billboards. To install these street furniture components on public ground, city councils have to agree. To get these permissions (Europe, Asia and part of the US) services and fees are offered to the cities by the outdoor advertisers.
  • In Europe there is a heavy competition for public spots to do advertising in different poster formats since these spots generate high contact figures – means many people can possibly remember a presented advertising message on a major road or square.
  • The presentation of this advertising has to fit in the overall public planning rules of cities and their architecture. These requirements lead to interesting design approaches for poster presentation in different formats.
  • Street furniture families were designed to fit these needs. Over the years they were completed with additional components like restrooms ( and automatic toilet facilities and kiosks to name a few.
  • To finance this infrastructure long term contracts (10 to 15 years) are signed between cities and outdoor advertising companies. These contracts mainly in big cities are worth some 10 millon dollars. Therfore a raw calculation scheme is available for a free preliminary data collection of the planned sreet furniture components, the advertising spots and a raw profit calculation under this download (
  • Cities are often put in a situation to decide on new concepts when they are not familiar with the issues, since new contracts occur only very seldom. This knowledge gap is closed by a special advisor - the street furniture report.
  • This advisor gives cities some independent ideas how to act in this surrounding instead of reacting since public ground can not be enlarged.

See also

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