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Urban chairs allow us settle parks and squares

In the spring of 2016 chairs and tables will appear in various public places in Prague. This new urban furniture will allow people to relax in places that previously lacked such an option.

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“It is possible to revitalise and reclaim public space without complicated and costly construction,” says Mayor Adriana Krnáčová. “The urban chair is also a symbol, a brand, helping to create an image of the city for everyone.”

Architects from the Prague Institute of Planning and Development, together with the City Hall, first identify a specific area that deserves to be revitalised. Chairs and tables will appear in selected squares and parks – and over time, additional simple furnishings can be added, to introduce different ways of using the space. Based on research carried out in cities worldwide, experts from the Institute of Planning and Development have selected four items of municipal furnishings that are easy to acquire and combine: chairs and tables, portable bike stands, grills and exhibit stands instead of closed off construction sites.

“We want to use the new furniture for two main purposes,” explains the Director of the Institute of Planning and Development, Petr Hlaváček. “Firstly to improve open spaces, which people pass through but do not stop in, even though the space is ideal for it.” These type of spaces would include the piazza by the National Theatre, Klárov, Kozí plácek or Alšovo embankment. “And secondly, for projects which aim to find a new look and use for derelict sites, which still have the potential to become local centres or meeting places.”

Architects from the Prague Institute of Planning and Development were inspired by New York, Copenhagen, Zurich and Stockholm to development the Programme for immediate improvement in the quality of Prague public spaces. Street chairs and tables have become a popular meeting place, for example on Prags Boulevard in Copenhagen: a special “Prague Chair” has even been designed for the local “Prague” street, which is too heavy to carry off, but can be moved over shorter distances.

The first phase of the project will involve the purchase of chairs and tables. “The advantage is that if they do not work in a given place, they can easily be moved elsewhere,” adds Hlaváček. According to a Prague City Council resolution, the new urban furniture should be acquired at the beginning of next year, and will be available for use in Prague between April and October 2016. “We are pleased that small steps are being taken to improve public spaces in Prague. The city is a pleasant place when it accommodates the needs of its users and there is a wide range of ways of achieving this, ways of using and experiencing public spaces,” concludes Hlaváček.

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