I’ve posted a bunch of pictures of benches, mostly in Cambridge but one, with a fire pit, from my bike trip to Erie, PA (it was someplace along the Canal outside of Fort Plain) and one from Montreal.  My hope is to collect a selection of pictures of different benches, or the same benches being used in different ways, to help have a discussion about what sort of benches might work for Cambridge.  In many ways, the greater discussion is how to mitigate problematic behavior, not just by homeless people but also by folks who smoke while waiting for a bus, people who hang out late at night and sit and talk and all sorts of other situations that can cause consternation even if not intended to do so.

Some ‘benches’ are not really benches, but are walls or garden ornaments that may function as benches.  Or may be studded with rocks to keep them from doing so.  Some benches surround trees, some are private, some are MBTA or City.  For something that provides such a simple function (sitting), the varieties seem endless.

Please post what you wish as well.




infrastructure bus stop and bench

CEMUSA-style bus station in Montreal.  Try lying on that bench!

benches on Median Strip outside Harvard Square

Benches on median strip outside of Harvard Square.  Comfy for lounging.

wall bench with rocks to keep folks from sitting

Rocks on this garden wall both decorate and make the surface uncomfortable for sitting


Bench on Mass Ave

This bench, on Mass Ave near Porter Square, looks almost antique and perhaps too frail to invite folks to “camp” on it.

tree stump by bench near CRLS

At CRLS, a round bench circles a dead tree.  These benches encourage sitting but not lying, “camping” or face-to-face interaction (the so-called “living room” effect).


benches and tables

These heavy duty benches, I think near the East Cambridge Courthouse complex, are big enough and solid enough for just about anything.  Their out-of-the-way location may minimize undesired use, though.

harvard quare bench with trash

These benches in Harvard Square help illustrate why some people are worried about benches.  The junk regularly left on these, and other nearby benches, is a problem.


infrastructure canal bench fire pit

This bench, in Upstate New York, reminds us of what we’d really like benches to be for.  Relaxing by a campfire.  We’re not likely to see much of this in Cambridge, though.



stone benches

These Area IV benches are durable and help define the walkway.  Their lack of a back and hard, cold surface may make them less attractive to long-term visitors and the lack of a nearby benches facing them also cuts down on the “living room” effect.

One Response to “Benches”

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  1. Williamp says:

    Thanks for sharing the post. You have provided a relevant topic. I liked the round bench circling a dead tree at CRLS and the benches near East Cambridge Courthouse complex. The idea to mitigate problematic behavior is good.I think it is needed today. I think it is great thought. Really glad to read it. Keep on sharing more good posts like this.
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