How To Create An Outdoor Living Room In Your Neighborhood


Published:

photo by Melanie van Zweeden

Lifelong friendships often start with a simple conversation with a stranger. BenchesCollective, a grassroots community organization, wants to spark those conversations by inspiring and teaching people how to create outdoor living rooms. The initiative, which originated in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, has more than 1,000 registered benches throughout the Netherlands and several other countries, including Brazil, Turkey, South Africa, and the U.S.

The project is a reminder that our sidewalks are shared spaces. It also reinforces the notion that having a sense of ownership of our public spaces is vital to creating thriving neighborhoods and cities. The benches connect people who might not otherwise be brought together. 

Two BenchesDays in June and September mark the beginning and end of BenchesSeason, during which time people are encouraged to create their own outdoor public space and offer coffee, tea, snacks, or — as one bench host did, salsa lessons.

Shareable connected with Mischa Woutersen, who coaches BenchesCollective ambassadors, about the best way to open a local bench. Here's his advice:

  1. Choose a good spot in your street to hang out with your neighbors.
  2. Think of a nice activity, dish, or drink to share. Check benchescollective.com for inspiration.
  3. Arrange a nice bench of seating area to host your activity. This can be a private bench or a public bench on your street.
  4. Open your bench on: bankjescollectief.nl/en/join/, so it is visible online.
  5. Make a Facebook event, share your bench on Nextdoor, and inform local press.
  6. Invite your neighbors to enjoy a fun afternoon.

“People can open their bench on any day of the year,” Woutersen said. “However, we encourage everyone to join our movement on the 11th of June. Then, we organize the biggest open air café of the world.”

The BenchesCollective team is currently working on tools, including a poster generator, to make it easier for participants to promote their benches. Woutersen encourages people to become ambassadors for their town or neighborhood.

BenchesCollective from BankjesCollectief on Vimeo.

Cat Johnson is a writer and content strategist covering collaboration, the commons, community and the future of work. Publications include Yes! Magazine, Utne Reader, GOOD, Shareable, Triple Pundit, LaunchableMag, and Lifehacker. She helps collaborative spaces and organizations stand out with custom content creation and strategies. Get content tips and resources at catjohnson.co. Follow Cat on Twitter and Facebook.

This article was republished from Shareable.

See also:
Tapping The Power Of Place To Keep Us All Healthy
The Greening Of The Commons

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

February 25, 2020

A mid-morning lunar sextile to Saturn sets the day off on a productive track. Most folks feel more than equal to the day’s challenges. However, the Pisces Moon is soon void of course. Focus and commitment waver. Do your best to keep up with ongoing…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

February 2020

With Kacey O’Donnell  Start Date: February 23, 2020   Come explore the spiritual path of Wicca! Discover more about nature, energy, magick and yourself. This 12-month course...

Cost: $1195 (Early Bird $1095)

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

The Basics Of Using Essential Oils Presenter: Kay Judge CCA Are you curious about how essential oils work and how to use them safely? This class will provide a basic understanding of the...

Cost: $25

Where:
Center for Inner Wellness
26B Main Street
Chester, MA  01011
View map »


Sponsor: Center for Inner Wellness
Telephone: 413-242-4069
Contact Name: Kay Judge
Website »

More information

Come shine with us! Join us in harmony and in our goal to bring the light of Spiritualism forward to all those who are searching.

Where:
VFW Post 2597
775 Boston Rd, Rt 3A
Billerica, MA
View map »


Sponsor: The Spiritualist Fellowship Church Of New England
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

A Fundraiser for Lucy’s Love Bus Monday February 24th at 5:30pm (Snow date: March 2nd) Join us for complimentary appetizers, free door prizes, drinks, fun music, a raffle and auction with...

Where:
Crave Restaurant
10 Water Street
Amesbury, MA
View map »


Telephone: 857-277-1984
Contact Name: Kerry
Website »

More information

With Anna DeWitte Mondays—starts 1/27 Our next new class! Join Anna (one of our recent grads) for her mild heat class! The temperature will hover around 80 degrees which helps to loosen...

Cost: $17

Where:
State of Grace Yoga & Wellness Center
104 East Hartford Ave.
Uxbridge, MA  01569
View map »


Sponsor: State of Grace Yoga and Wellness Center
Telephone: 508-278-2818
Website »

More information

Discover Beauty. Discover Goodness. Discover Yourself. Your soul’s gifts are waiting. Breathe. Find stillness. The spark you need to ignite your life is here, within. Max Meditation...

Cost: $15

Where:
Modern Mystery School Boston
132 Charles St
3rd Floor
Auburndale, MA  02466
View map »


Sponsor: Modern Mystery School Boston
Telephone: 617-694-0994
Contact Name: Jordan Bain
Website »

More information

2nd and 4th Monday of every month This psychic message circle is for anyone wishing to raise their connection using their psychic centers known as the “clairs.” Learn how to use...

Cost: $20

Where:
Messages From Heaven Healing and Learning Center
646 Central Street
Suite 3
Leominster, MA
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Automatic & Channel Writing — Class 2 of 3 Discussion of the process of writing and channeling. Continued writing practice and connecting practice and exercises. Discussion of...

Cost: At door $20; online reg. $15

Where:
The Healing Power of Flowers — Heaven and Earth
68 Stiles Rd, Unit A
Salem, NH  03079
View map »


Sponsor: The Healing Power of Flowers - Heaven and Earth
Telephone: 603-275-7688
Contact Name: Stacey
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
No Events

Join Life Coach Cheryl Richardson and her husband, Michael Gerrish, a psychotherapist and gifted intuitive, for a special evening designed to help you upgrade your life!  During this event,...

Cost: $35

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
386 Merrimack Street, #1A
Methuen, MA  01844
View map »


Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
Website »

More information

February 27–29 Annie Appleseed Project: all-volunteer cancer nonprofit helps people make informed decisions on lifestyle issues, complementary therapies and holistic treatments....

Where:
West Palm Beach, FL


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
No Events

15 minutes for only $25 with some of our most popular readers! Plus, all merchandise will be 10% off too! Genevieve Hackett - Tarot or Mediumship Readings Renee Walsh - Destiny Divination...

Cost: $25

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
386 Merrimack Street, #1A
Methuen, MA  01844
View map »


Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
Website »

More information

Kundalini yoga and Naad yoga (the yoga of sound), are powerful tools that help us to cope with challenges, change our state, and lift us into an elevated experience. We all know what it is like...

Cost: $35, $40 at the door

Where:
Yoga At The Ashram
368 Village St.
Millis, MA  02054
View map »


Telephone: 508-376-4525
Website »

More information

Get a personal teaching for Brother Granite's new Visionary Shamanism Tarot. This class includes the new Visionary Shamanism Tarot deck as well a 90 minute one on one class with Brother Granite...

Cost: $80

Where:
407 Deans Plaza
407 Rte 44
The Enchanted Forest Taunton
Raynham, MA  02767
View map »


Sponsor: Brother Granite
Telephone: 774-208-6195
Contact Name: Granite
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags