Benches are Good for Everyone’s Bottom Line

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In my TEDx Talk  on the Transformative Power of Walking I noted the importance of benches in making places for people to be sociable, feel accepted on the street, and to people watch, a very important human activity. I also cited a study completed by  New York City’s Department of Transportation that showed that placing benches outside retail stores increased sales volumes by 14 per cent at the adjacent storefronts.

BBC’s Katie Shepherd examines an encouraging trend in North America where municipalities are now encouraging the placement of benches as a welcoming gesture outside of stores. Such actions by individual shop keepers often is the first step (no pun intended) to how to create a more coherent and customer friendly commercial area.

“American cities have an excess of roadway space,” says Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, an urban planning professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. The street seats movement aims to…

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