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The chairs in the photos are provided by the local government for public use in their square.

A client of David Engwicht, the government has taken advice to ‘let go’ and allow the chairs to remain outdoors 24/7.

It was Mr Engwicht who recommended un-restrained chairs in the square, initiatives popularised by Holly Whyte in his 1980 book ‘The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces’.  Whyte demonstrated the value to the economy if people could make their own public spaces with movable furniture.  The argument is that the public space becomes more interesting, less predictable, generates a closer bond between people and the place, and gives the place a higher frequency of visits.

It is also argued that the authority is relieved of the costly exercise of renewing public places as fixed furniture loses its initial appeal – or is conceded to have not had any in the first place …

This book was leant to me by The Fremantle Doctor, Michael Swanepoel, who also was the first person to bring Engwicht to Western Australia – something he did when he was the strategic planner for the Town of Claremont.

We had the first of our heavy rains today, so the lad above has conceived his own hut form the Engwicht chairs as he enjoys complimentary WiFi, and power from the wall for his laptop.

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