Bench Urbanism

Christopher Hume looks at the welcoming power of benches in seating-heavy Montreal, and argues that other cities need to take the simple step of planting more benches to make urban areas more lively and attractive.
October 6, 2008, 6am PDT | Nate Berg
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"For visitors, Montreal is an especially comfortable place to spend time. In addition to all the regular attractions – museums, restaurants, shops, bars, etc. – it feels like one extended park. It's not that the city is so much greener than others; the difference lies in the ease with which it can be inhabited."

"What does that mean? Well, to begin with, benches – and lots of them."

"Compared with Toronto, where finding a place to sit out on the streets is next to impossible, Montreal positively invites visitors to sit down and watch the passing parade. Benches are everywhere you turn."

"Simply put, benches allow us to inhabit a city. They help transform a place into a destination. They tell us we're welcome and give us a chance to be spectators as well as participants."

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Published on Friday, October 3, 2008 in The Toronto Star
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