Street Furniture - Christchurch

Street furniture is the silent and often unnoticed blight on our environment. Walking around, most people won't consciously notice the many signs and structures that surround them. I suspect that it has a subconscious affect on how we feel about each place, but that most people can't put their finger on what it is that is causing their feeling.

I also believe that those responsible for creating this situation don't fully understand it. I hope this article will shed some light, and encourage more care.

As a photographer I am constantly looking for images to capture. That normally means a subject with a background. In doing this I notice street furniture more than most people because it directly affects my ability to succeed. But this is not about the affects of street furniture on a photographer's craft. This is about the affects it has on residents, and on how tourists see a place when they visit. If a place wishes to be viewed well by tourists, for it to gain a good reputation, then street furniture must be high on the agenda.

As a demonstration of how much street furniture there is I walked the full length of Worcester Boulevard, Christchurch, taking pictures of each piece of street furniture I noticed. It's easy to miss some. So the pictures that follow are just from one short stretch of one road. Looking at the pictures I took, I noticed categories, so I've organised them as you'll see below.

Signs For Cars

Although Worcester Boulevard is one of the top tourist destinations in Christchurch, and it has restricted vehicle access, you may be stunned by the number of the pictures that follow.

 

That is not all the signs! That is just the different signs. Some, like the parking signs, are repeated many times.

The Rubbish Bin

There is one piece of street furniture I'd like to make special note of, and it is this one:

I have written a whole article dedicated to the humble rubbish bin: Street Furniture - Rubbish Bins

The Earthquake

Christchurch is in an unusual state at the moment as a consequence of the earthquake. This has resulted in yet more street furniture in Worcester Boulevard:

These are common in the city centre area at the moment:

Art or Eyesore?

Walking along Worcester Boulevard I was rather amazed when I looked up and saw this:

This is a major tourist area. Is this supposed to be art? My first thought was "what were they thinking?". Then I wondered whether any thought actually went into this.

Small Things

There are even small things, like this small sign:

And this alarm box:

All of these little things add to give an overall impression.

Cathedral Square

The square is relatively free of street furniture, at least of the ugly variety. But there is the odd thing, like this:

Some may argue that this is part of the activity of the square. That's true. But if you want to take a nice picture, maybe for your album of your visit to Christchurch, do you really want a large fish and chip sign in the background?

Hagley Park

Even the wonderful Hagley Park suffers from ugly street furniture. At the back of the cafe near the information centre is this:

Anyone wishing to take pictures of the pond there, specially with the festival of flowers topiary in it at the momemt, will find certain angles impossible because of that large bright blue thing.

Maybe this is an example of charm from the Rose Garden:

I found it ruined certain angles when trying to capture the beauty of the roses.

Conclusion

When walking through the country, or along a beach, you don't want to come across a discarded fast food wrapper. Likewise when walking down a beautiful street with lovely buildings, ugly street furniture detracts from the attractiveness. I hope more careful thought will be employed in the future.

Written on 12th February 2011 by Steve