The Bench Project started as an anonymous effort by a group of friends to improve the quality of our city’s public realm. As so much of our public space is comprised of roads, dedicated to moving people from A to B, the Bench Project seeks to rehumanize public space. Its goal is to increase social connectivity by creating opportunities to view the city from a different angle, to linger and chat with friends, and to enjoy main streets free of cost. The Bench Project is not only about urban beautification and increased the functionality of public spaces – but it also demonstrates to Calgarians that we all have a hand in making our city what we want it to be: vibrant, liveable and connected.
"The bench is a fundamental feature of urban space that is disarming simple and sincere. This project offers a new and vibrant interpretation of this basic piece of public furniture and cuts directly to what community-initiated urban design should be. Individual benches are funded by members of the community, and the act of building and placing benches has triggered dozens of other acts of citizen-based urban improvements and business contributions. The goal is visual delight, functional comfort, community building and social inclusion. Jurors found this idea to be so elemental that it challenges you to take it forward and to take it seriously. Most importantly the project succeeded in its stated goal of enabling Calgary residents to feel “empowered to transform their public spaces.”