Delighted to discover The Netherlands’ based BenchesCollective, which transforms the ubiquitous street bench into a tool for community engagement, and for building empathy and mutual understanding within neighborhoods.

The idea behind the BenchesCollective initiative is to spark public interactions that otherwise might not take place. It provides space for strangers to sit down together and share a conversation. It also encourages the hosts and guests of the benches to rethink the use of streets and urban furniture while giving them a degree of ownership over their own public space. The BenchesDays elevate the importance of streets and benches from pure utility to places of experimentation, community engagement, and placemaking.

Together we transform public space into a meeting place for everyone. The largest open-air café in the world consists of ‘opened’ benches on the pavement in front of houses, in the park or on a city square.

As a bench host you decide your opening times and what you want to serve: a nice cup of coffee, home baked cake, a marble competition or dancing lesson. At the opened benches you’ll meet all your neighbours.

Since 2014 over 1.000 benches opened in 17 countries. Together we form an international movement that aims to create more friendly, socially inclusive and fun cities and communities.


Head over to the BenchesCollective website to register your bench or find one near you.

Hat tip: The Movement to Make Everyone Friendlier–with Urban Design via FastCo.Design

Posted by:Elsa

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