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American Society of Landscape Architects


July 2004 Issue

Reinventing an Old Idea
A plea for custom street furniture that supports specific places.

By Ronald Lee Fleming with Jeannie Miller

Reinventing an Old Idea
Don Snyder, Courtesy Cleveland Public Art

We live in an age of catalogs. No wonder, then, that the street furniture in our public spaces and along the corridors of our communities is generic and anonymous. Artist- or artisan-designed street furniture may seem old-fashioned (certainly, some of the richest examples of furniture craft in cities date from the nineteenth rather than the twentieth century), but to create unique places, custom-designed, "place specific" street furniture is necessary. Custom street furniture may not make a place, but it can add meaning and continuity.

Although recent place-specific street furniture sometimes replicates nineteenth-century styles, much of it uses radically new techniques.

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