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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Urban Planet: Please seat yourself

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The need for pedestrian friendly and walkable cities is well known within urbanism circles, and is quickly becoming apart of the mainstream dialogue on how we plan and experience our urban environments. But where does the flâneur go when his or her feet get a little tired from pounding the pavement in search of hidden corners and alleys? Or where can one rest their legs or simply take in the smells and sights of society rushing past them?

A recent piece from My Urbanist addresses these questions by explaining the need for ‘sit-able’ cities and places, with spaces meant for stationary activities such as chatting, relaxing, spectating or munching. More than the notion of a simple park bench or fenced off café patio, ‘sit-able places’ look at the notion of sitting within the city from a depth of conversation that includes those who are homeless, and public spaces that are truly public, as opposed to rented with the purchase of, say, a coffee. It is also the idea that for a city to truly be great or fully experienced, people need to be able to stop and rest in order to soak it all in; a place where the hustle and bustle continues, but you are not pulled or pushed by it.

Thoughts of both Paley Park and The High Line in New York City come to mind, but perhaps there is a need for more thought, and a greater incorporation of the idea of sitting when designing then main pedestrian routes in our cities. And perhaps, most importantly, by creating more spaces for sitting, we will in turn encourage more people to start walking.

Image courtesy of Kristen Gagnon

Urban Planet is a roundup of blogs from around the world dealing specifically with urban environments. We’ll be on the lookout for websites outside the country that approach themes related to urban experiences and issues.

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