Choosing Street Furniture That Meets City Standards

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Street furniture plays a crucial role in shaping the identity and functionality of a city. From park benches to bus shelters, streetlights to trash cans, these elements enhance the aesthetics of urban spaces and provide essential services to the community. However, when it comes to choosing street furniture, adhering to city standards is of paramount importance.

City standards for street furniture encompass various criteria, including safety, durability, accessibility, and aesthetics. Meeting these standards ensures that the public spaces are visually appealing, safe and accessible for everyone. This is why Australian businesses buy outdoor street furniture at Astra Street Furniture to meet city standards and keep the country at its best.

This blog post will explore the various aspects of choosing street furniture that complies with city standards, helping cities create more welcoming and functional urban environments.

Safety First

Safety should always be the top priority when selecting street furniture. City standards dictate strict guidelines to ensure public spaces are free from hazards that could cause accidents or injuries. Here are some key safety considerations:

Materials: Street furniture must be made from durable, non-toxic materials that can withstand the elements and heavy use. Steel, aluminium, and concrete are often preferred for strength and longevity.

Design: The design of street furniture should minimise the risk of accidents. For example, benches and seats should have smooth, rounded edges to prevent sharp corners that could cause injuries. Additionally, anti-graffiti coatings can deter vandalism and maintain a clean appearance.

Anchoring: Proper anchoring and installation are crucial to prevent furniture from toppling or becoming unstable. City standards often specify installation guidelines to ensure stability and safety.

Accessibility: Street furniture should be designed to be accessible to all, including people with disabilities. This includes ramps, curb cuts, and proper spacing to accommodate wheelchairs and strollers.

Durability and Longevity

Investing in street furniture that can withstand the test of time is cost-effective and environmentally responsible. City standards often include durability requirements to ensure public funds are spent wisely. Consider the following factors:

Weather Resistance: Street furniture is exposed to various weather conditions, from scorching summers to freezing winters. Materials and finishes should be chosen to resist corrosion, fading, and deterioration due to weather exposure.

Maintenance: Low-maintenance materials and finishes can help reduce ongoing upkeep costs. Many cities prefer furniture that requires minimal cleaning, painting, or repairs.

Vandalism Resistance: Street furniture is often a target for vandalism. Choosing materials and designs that deter graffiti, tampering, or theft can help extend the furniture’s lifespan.

Warranty: Ensure that the chosen street furniture has a manufacturer’s warranty covering defects and premature wear. A warranty provides added assurance of product quality.

Accessibility and Inclusivity

City standards for street furniture should prioritise accessibility and inclusivity to ensure that public spaces are welcoming, regardless of age, mobility, or abilities. Some important aspects to consider include:

ADA Compliance: Street furniture should comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines, which mandate accessible designs for people with disabilities. This includes appropriate seat heights, armrests, and backrests on benches and seating areas.

Clear Pathways: Ensure that street furniture does not obstruct pedestrian pathways, sidewalks, or curb ramps. Adequate clearance around furniture is essential for wheelchair users and those with mobility aids.

Braille and Tactile Signage: Informational signage on street furniture, such as bus stop signs or wayfinding signs, should include Braille and tactile elements for the visually impaired.

Universal Design: Aim for universal design principles that cater to a broad range of users. Features like armrests on benches can benefit individuals with mobility challenges, seniors and parents with young children.

Aesthetics and Urban Design

While functionality and safety are paramount, aesthetics and urban design should not be overlooked. Street furniture contributes to the overall look and feel of a city’s public spaces, and city standards often include design guidelines to maintain a cohesive and appealing aesthetic.

Consistency: Street furniture should be consistent in design, colour, and materials to create a harmonious urban environment. Coordinating furniture with surrounding architectural elements can enhance the overall aesthetic.

Customisation: Some cities may have specific design preferences or historic preservation requirements. In such cases, customisation of street furniture may be necessary to meet city standards while preserving the city’s unique character.

Artistic Elements: Public art installations or decorative elements incorporated into street furniture can add character and uniqueness to urban spaces, enhancing the overall ambience.

Sustainability: Sustainable design practices, such as using recycled materials or incorporating green infrastructure into street furniture, can align with city standards and contribute to a city’s environmental goals.

Public Input and Community Engagement

In many cases, involving the community in the selection of street furniture can lead to better outcomes. Public input and community engagement can help ensure that the chosen furniture meets the needs and preferences of the local population. Here are some ways to incorporate public input:

Surveys and Questionnaires: Conduct surveys or questionnaires to gather feedback from residents and visitors about their preferences for street furniture. This input can inform the selection process.

Workshops and Focus Groups: Organize seminars with community members, urban planners, and designers to discuss and prioritise street furniture options.

Pilot Projects: Implement pilot projects in specific areas to test different types of street furniture and gather feedback from the community before making a final decision.

Online Platforms: Create online or social media channels where residents can share their thoughts and ideas about street furniture options.

Budget Considerations

Budget constraints are a reality for most cities, and city standards should balance the desire for quality and aesthetics with financial limitations. Here are some budget considerations when choosing street furniture:

Total Cost of Ownership: Look beyond the initial purchase price and consider the total cost of ownership, which includes maintenance, repairs, and replacements over time. Investing in high-quality, durable furniture can lead to long-term savings.

Grants and Funding Opportunities: Explore grants and funding opportunities available for street furniture projects. These can help offset costs and expand the budget for higher-quality options.

Phased Implementation: If budget constraints are significant, consider implementing street furniture upgrades in phases, first prioritising high-traffic or prominent areas.

Public-Private Partnerships: Collaborate with private companies or organisations that may be willing to sponsor or donate street furniture in exchange for advertising or recognition.

Sustainability and Environmental Impact

Cities are increasingly focused on sustainability and reducing their environmental impact. Street furniture selection can align with these goals by considering the following:

Materials: Choose eco-friendly materials, such as recycled or sustainable woods, metals, or plastics. Ensure that suppliers adhere to responsible sourcing practices.

Energy Efficiency: Street furniture with integrated solar panels or LED lighting can reduce energy consumption and contribute to the city’s sustainability efforts.

Green Infrastructure: Incorporate green infrastructure elements into street furniture, such as planters and porous surfaces, to enhance urban biodiversity and reduce stormwater runoff.

Recycling and Waste Management: Consider the end-of-life disposal of street furniture and opt for materials that can be recycled or repurposed.


Choosing street furniture that meets city standards is a multifaceted process that requires careful consideration of safety, durability, accessibility, aesthetics, community input, budget constraints, and sustainability. By adhering to city standards, cities can create inviting, functional, and inclusive public spaces that enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors alike.