More benches, more connection
Many participants have encountered that a (shared) bench on the sidewalk invites spontaneous conversations with neighbors and makes it easier to meet each other. In this way they contribute to a better neighborhood. New ideas arise. Think of small street parties, barbecues on the block or cleaning up that dirty square together. 64% of the people who meet each other during this events will keep seeing one another.
Permanent presence of the benches can strengthen these effects because people will meet more often. So after BenchesDay keep your bench on the sidewalk. By giving space to private initiative, creativity and sense of belonging to the neighborhood will be encouraged. The number of residents that is actively involved to BenchesCollective is growing steadily!
BenchesCollective, the bigger picture
The gap between rich and poor, immigrants and longtime locals and between low-skilled and highly educated people is growing every year. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to meet people who have a different background. The recent terror attacks in worldwide and the tensed talks about refugees are making it one of the most urgent challenges of our time to combat structural inequality and promote mutual understanding.
Diversity in ethnicity, culture, religion and sexual orientation is part of every neighborhood, in every dynamic city and even in many villages worldwide. But that doesn’t always mean there’s a natural sense connection and solidarity. It’s time it no longer self-evident that you know your neighbours. Because honestly… Do you know all your neighbours?
The idea behind the BenchesCollective initiative is to spark public interactions that otherwise might not take place. It provides space for strangers to sit down together and share a conversation. It also encourages the hosts and guests of the benches to rethink the use of streets and urban furniture while giving them a degree of ownership over their own public space. The BenchesDays elevate the importance of streets and benches from pure utility to places of experimentation, community engagement, and placemaking.
The sidewalk as a shared space
The sidewalk can be the perfect meeting point. On the sidewalk you bump into everyone: from chatty couples to street kids, from refugees to yuppies and from expats to bubbly granny’s. Research shows that benches in front of houses can add a lot of value to the neighborhood. It’s a true conversation starter. Feel free to invite every passant to participate. If you open up to people they will open up to you. Don’t be afraid of new encounters, this is the only way to meet new people with different backgrounds. Step out of your bubble! Because more contact in the neighborhood leads to more help, trust and even happiness!
If you want to know more about what we do, who we are and how to open your own bench you can browse through our website. Here you can find everything about the benches in your neighborhood, the hosts, the locations, opening hours etc.
BenchesCollective believes in connection and solidarity. Therefore we work intensively together with social organizations, councils and BenchesAmbassadors from The Netherlands and abroad.
The goal of these collaborations is to connect with the elderly, refugees and people living on social welfare. To strengthen connections and creativity in neighborhoods all around the world. Are you interested to bring your initiative to these groups and work with them? Are you into unexpected encounters with new people? Do you like connecting people? Do you want to contribute to your neighborhood in a positive way?
Send an email to Mischa if you want to join our team of beloved BenchesAmbassadors. Reach him at mischa[at]bankjescollectief.nl.
Want to work together any other way? Just contact Cathelijn, cathelijk[at]bankjescollectief.nl.
Want to know more? Send an email to info[at]bankjescollectief.nl for further information.
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