Lockdown in Ireland has lead to an increasing pressure for local councils to take back the streets. Or at least a portion of the streets, enabling hospitality businesses to return to some semblance of operational capacity & function.
Originating from a realisation that we need more pedestrian space to enable people to safely social distance from other pedestrians coupled with the realisation that we dedicate an AWFUL lot of space for vehicles, people want their towns, villages and cities to be sociable & livable again.
In a concerted effort, allied with road safety needs, many councils are starting to roll out proper segregated cycle facilities, pedestrianisation town centres and otherwise restricting vehicle access in favour of those on 2 legs or public transport systems.
Witness the situation in Dublin city (thanks Andrea!) on a fully pedestrianised area which is just PERFECT for tables, chairs and social spaces. The nearest ‘seats’ are the steps of the shopping centre which believe it or not are watered to discourage people from sitting there.
You can wet our steps, but you’ll never take our freedom (to gather with pals) I mean we’re CRYING out for some on street seating/cafe culture/bag o cans seats pic.twitter.com/crNN5T6kyR
— Andrea Horan (@AndreaHoran) June 22, 2020
Understandably we will get the same arguments ad nauseum
- cities need cars, people need to drive to shop*
- cyclists are a danger to themselves and others
- we can’t have nice things, the kids will ruin the seats
- councils won’t allow us (the are changing the planning permission requirements)
- Ireland doesn’t get the weather
*private motorists account for 41% of retail spend in the city – that’s 59% by other means, imagine if you reduce the cars how many more can shop in peace
Many of these points are being addressed by the local councils however the weather is beyond everyone’s control. At eventcentre.ie, while our normal activities of staging & seating at events is on hold, our crazy innovative design team have been crafting ideas to help –
How about completely covering sections of pedestrianised zones to enable all weather outdoor seating? Think of how most European cities are presented. Why can’t we do the same but under a see though cover?
Of course at night these can be lit from above (street lights) or enterprises could take it upon themselves to festoon with lights and other homely comforts. Pubs & restaurants could appropriate areas or street frontage (within reason) to enable outdoor seating around socially spaced tables. The only issue may be the over night handling and storage of all those tables and chairs but I’m sure one of our modular structure buildings would come in handy if necessary 😉
We would love to hear your thoughts on enabling sociability, positive and or negative, as its only through feedback that we learn and adjust for the next time. If you know a business community or representative body that would like to explore this idea, we’d always be appreciative of a share and possibly a link to our presentation of the idea. We’re in this together so lets help each other out.
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