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Placemaking

Here They Are — The Sad Benches Where No One Wants to Sit

1:47 PM EDT on August 31, 2015

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This lovely "place I don't want to sit" comes from Drew Ackermann in Gambrills, Maryland. His wife tested it out just for laughs.

Last week, Gracen Johnson over at Strong Towns introduced the phrase "places I don't want to sit" to describe the lousy, leftover public spaces where someone has plopped down a bench or two as an afterthought. The seating, in these cases, helps crystallize how unsalvageable our public realm becomes when everything else is planned around moving and storing cars. Who would actually want to sit there?

So Strong Towns and Streetsblog encouraged folks to Tweet their own examples at #PlacesIDontWantToSit. You all dug up some hilarious-but-sad places -- here are some of the lousiest ones.

This submission comes to us via Kansas City-based Tweeter The Pedestrian Path, who added the helpful white arrow to point out the sitting space:

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 9.51.31 AM

Here's one courtesy of yours truly. It shows the intersection of Carnegie and Ontario in Cleveland. The benches are on the left -- they're the Ohio Department of Transportation's attempt at placemaking. Try harder next time!

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 9.53.13 AM

Sometimes the mistake is as simple as having the bench face the wrong way, like this one in Decatur, Georgia, courtesy of Twitter account Philabikes. What were they thinking?

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 9.54.25 AM

Here's a lonely spot in downtown Phoenix via PTBrennan:

Photo: Phoenix New Times
Photo: Phoenix New Times
Photo: Phoenix New Times

For some reason, nobody's taking advantage of the scenery at this spot in Surrey, British Columbia, via RobertTWhite:

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 10.03.43 AM

Finally, here's the place that Gracen Johnson visited that helped inspire the whole thing. She says she actually did sit and eat lunch here, and "when you close your eyes, it kind of sounds like the ocean."

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 12.38.28 PM

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