As is our tradition at the end of each year, we are sharing our best content from 2015. This series of pieces was created by Strong Towns contributor, Gracen Johnson, and it had a huge impact this year. Her #PlacesIDontWanttoSit hashtag was used by dozens of people on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and several news sources covered the story.
Gracen's first piece this summer documented the absurd incidence of benches and other seating arrangements built where no one would ever desire to use them, simply to fill a quota:
The idea of asking developers to contribute to public space is excellent (perhaps essential). By the looks of it, this has resulted in millions upon millions of dollars invested in places to sit or frolic. Too bad it keeps ending up in places where no one would actually want to linger... Imagine if we took all that wasted investment and directed it toward building more spaces that make people happy.
Gracen's next two pieces were videos. First she gave us a sneak preview of the solution she created in her community. Then, she showed us the "chair bombing" she did in her town, bringing her neighbors together to create functional, artistic seating.
Last week, I pointed out some silly public space investments. This week, I'm working on some better ones. Here's a sneak preview of things to come.
Finally, in a surprising twist at the end, Gracen's chairbombs unfortunately got the boot, but she got to know a neighbor in the process:
Last week, Sarah Goodyear from CityLab interviewed me about the project. Her first question was this: When you did your chairbombing, were you worried at all about the police confronting you? The landowner? My answer: In this case, not really. AND THEN! Here was the scene this week at the market...
Several Strong Towns followers got into the #PlacesIDontWanttoSit game on Twitter, posting photos of the depressing benches in their towns: