benches collective - more public benches enhance communities

A movement calling itself the Benches Collective (Bankjes Collectief, actually- but you get the idea) believes that more outdoor benches help to create stronger, more closely knit communities, and their efforts are helping to turn the streets of Amsterdam into, what the group calls, the largest outdoor café in the world.

That big, street side cafe is now a monthly happening- which is alright by event organizers. “A (shared) bench on the sidewalk invites spontaneous conversations with neighbors and makes it easier to meet each other,” explains Jesse Jorg, the founder of the Benches Collective. “The monthly cafe stimulates these new encounters. Also, it tries to encourage people to look at public space as a shared canvas that can be colored by us all.”

Putting it a bit more “manifesto-ish” is the Collective’s website, which sets out the plan quite nicely, in this quote …

Every first Sunday of the month BankjesCollectief turns the streets into the largest outdoor café in the world. ‘Open’ a bench in front of your house, in your street of in a park and invite your neighbors and some friends and family. Or enjoy visiting other benches in the neighborhood. The owners of the (adopted) benches choose what time they open and what they want to serve: from a cup of coffee to a tasty lunch and from a beautiful story to a haircut. And afterwards, the café guests decide the price. A relaxed and fun way to meet your neighbors.

… that reaffirms the group’s commitment to community and, in its own way, the same kind of walkability and urban local-ism that we espouse here at EcoLocalizer.

Enough about us, though- what do you think of the Benches Collective? You can learn more about the Collective’s work- and see more pictures- at the the BankjesCollectief website in the source links, below. Enjoy!


Benches Collective Photos

Source | Photos: Bankjes Collectief, via PopUp City.