Street furniture rolled out in Bellville

The Greater Tygerberg Partnership team are from left Ross Alexander, Rachel Botsis, CEO Chris OConnor and Lyle van der Merwe.

An urban experiment to gauge the public’s response to street furniture has been running in Kruskral Avenue, Bellville.

Called the B4 Campaign (Bench, Bin and Blomme for Bellville), it saw a bench, a bin and a vertical garden placed at three key locations on a busy route.

It was rolled out by the Greater Tygerberg Partnership, in partnership with Open Streets Cape Town on Monday May 16.

Rory Williams, a board member of Open Streets Cape Town, said the project would help city planners work out what was needed to create positive spaces in an urban setting.

“In the case of Kruskal Avenue, bollards are featured, which allow people to sit or stand in a group, with municipal fixtures such as electrical or Telkom boxes that are the right size to lean against.

“But there are clearly spaces that do not meet recommended design criteria and yet attract people for one reason or another.”

The first stage of the exercise sought to document how people used the selected space, given its existing conditions.

Six benches were made from recycled pallets and painted bright blue.

Some stood on their own while others were positioned to create an environment for interaction and conversation.

GTP CEO Chris O’Connor said it was important to make public space inviting to attract people to the area.

Small vertical gardens were attached to three of the benches on Friday May 27 and people in the area were invited to help with the planting.

“The gardens are the real test of ownership and pride in public space, as they require time and care.

“Will people prioritise the nurturing of them, or will they wilt and die by the time we revisit on the final day of the experiment? Only time will tell,” said Mr O’Connor.