Bench Mark is an experimental project that uses street furniture to measure the dynamics of public space – the results will be used to increase social interaction in public space.Learn More
The project records the location of moveable benches to test effects of placement of urban furniture on how people enjoy public space.
The project measures the pressure on benches so as to determine if people sit on those benches and their length of stay.
The project analyzes noise level combined with placement of urban furniture as a proxy for social interaction.
The project counts the number of people who flow through the space to understand how well those urban furniture is designed. Don’t worry, the data can't be used to identify each individual.
The analysis investigated stationary activities by asking three questions: are people sitting on the benches, are people moving the benches around, and are the benches clustered spatially. This allowed us to understand whether people were engaging in stationary activities by sitting down and whether they were doing this in groups or alone. Combining the bench pressure data with the location, we were able to detect a variety of stationary activities taking place on and around our benches.
When people stay in the same location for over five minutes, the Gehl methodology categorizes these actions as stationary activities. In our research, we also wanted to include any activities that lasted less than five minutes but indicated a pedestrian is interested. These shorter interactions can often lead to more prolonged stationary activities. Thus, in analysis of pedestrian interaction, we differentiated between people who are just passing by and those who stay and express curiosity.