How street furniture is becoming more inclusive

How street furniture is becoming more inclusive

In recent years, the focus on inclusivity and accessibility has transformed many aspects of our society, including how towns and cities are designed.

Architects, urban planners, main contractors and sub-contractors are increasingly adopting Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles into their designs and specifications.

In the public realm, accessibility and inclusivity are essential to ensure that all individuals, irrespective of their age, mobility, or ability, can use and enjoy public spaces.

As expert suppliers of high-quality street furniture, Street Furniture Direct is aware of these evolving needs and we work closely with sub-contractors to meet them.

Understanding inclusive design

Inclusive design recognises the importance of creating outdoor environments that are designed so everyone can benefit and use comfortably.

The Equality Act was introduced in 2010 with the aim of protecting individuals from unfair treatment and to promote a fair and more equal society.

It sets out nine protected characteristics. These are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.

Architects, main contractors, sub-contractors and local councils have a duty to enable safe and independent access to streets and public spaces for people with protected characteristics.

So for construction professionals, inclusive design needs to create a space that is genuinely usable and enjoyable for all individuals, no matter their circumstances.

Street furniture plays a significant role in shaping such inclusive environments.

Inclusive seating options

Seating that caters to various mobility levels is crucial for an inclusive public space. For example, perch seats are a solution for those who find it difficult to stand for long periods but struggle with rising from a seated position.

For wheelchair users, seats and benches with spaces alongside them to accommodate wheelchairs can make all the difference, for example, the Garner Timber and Steel Bench. Also, armrests and backrests can provide support for older people or those with less body strength.

Accessible tables and picnic areas

Picnic tables should accommodate people of all abilities and provide spaces for wheelchair access, so that everyone can join in outdoor dining experiences. For example, the Isola Picnic Table features a slight overhanging table top at each end so wheelchair users can sit and use the table.

Innovative planters

Planters are sometimes an overlooked street furniture product when it comes to inclusivity. Sub-contractors are starting to install raised planters to not only make gardening possible for those with mobility issues, but they also help create an engaging experience for individuals with visual impairments. These sensory planters are filled with fragrant herbs and textured plants.

The Rose Timber Planter is a popular choice among sub-contractors. It has a standard height of 700mm, but you can specify either a higher or lower option based on your project requirements.

Smart and multisensory street furniture

With the advancement of smart technology, street furniture has become even more inclusive. For example, smart benches with charging ports allow people to charge their devices, enhancing the usability of public spaces for tech-dependent individuals.

Similarly, multisensory street furniture, such as playground furniture, feature various textures and shapes to create enriching environments for individuals with sensory processing needs.

To achieve a genuinely inclusive public realm, street furniture suppliers must work with sub-contractors, architects, and other construction professionals. Here at Street Furniture Direct, we are committed to providing innovative, high-quality street furniture that caters to a diverse range of needs.

It is important to consider that inclusive street furniture helps to create public spaces where everyone feels valued, included, and comfortable.

If you are working on a project that requires inclusive street furniture, talk to our team here at Street Furniture Direct. Our straightforward and down-to-earth approach helps sub-contractors find the piece of street furniture quickly and easily, meaning you spend more time on carrying out the building work.
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