More urbanisation. More people in the city. Higher apartment prices and rents. All of these factors have led to the phenomenon known as room sharing.
If people have to leave their own domiciles due to excess noise, overcrowding or lack of privacy, they end up spending a lot of time away from home—and in indoor and outdoor public areas such as libraries, arcades, shopping centres, parks and avenues.
When these people flow en masse into public areas, they may not be enjoying their retreat on the most comfortable or accessible of furnishings.
Furnishings in public spaces are engineered to be resistant to vandals and litter, easily installed, requiring of little or no maintenance, and conforming with the design style of the neighbourhood.
Public furniture generally comes in the form of seats and benches. This form of seating restricts users to a straight back seating position, with no lounging allowed.
People choose their public seating based on their spaces, positions and locations, as they are trying to determine their perceived comfort level with the seats considered.
Considering the amount of time that people spend in public seating, they might wish to conduct everyday activities in that space; recharging their phones and laptops, eating and washing their hands, filling their water bottles, heating up their lunches, etc.
Access to basic water and utility services must be extended to public areas. Not everyone can afford to buy bottled water or food when they’re out and about, and basic sanitary needs must be met. And they must have access to electrical power.
It goes without saying that public seating needs to be more comfortable and cushiony. Yet adding power and practical appliances to public spaces could morph these places into even more personal and accessible areas—making their home away from home into a home. And to protect these areas, users could access them via a password entered into an electronic gate.