Shaded Seats on Hot Streets

Committee: Facilities, Parks, and Recreation

Cost: $450,000

Location: To be determined based on need and impact assessments.

Short Description: Create 3-5 shaded seating areas in busy areas most in need of shade and seating. Each area will be 300 to 500 square feet and include shade canopies and inviting places to sit: bench swings, chairs, tables, and communal seating.

Long Description: Shaded seating areas will provide a range of urban oases along hot, busy streets—opportunities to get out of the sun or rain, rest before moving on with the rest of the day, and/or to have friendly interaction with others. The seats will be located in areas with heavy foot traffic, where rights of way allow. To make these areas more enticing, while keeping design and materials costs low, we propose providing a variety of creative seating options. Some people might enjoy reading or socializing on 2-3-person swing benches, while others would like to have lunch at four-person round picnic tables or socialize on benches labeled as “happy to chat” to encourage social interactions and mitigate loneliness. With increasingly hot summers, all these options would incorporate shade—either through shade structures above the whole mini park, existing large trees, or through umbrella structures built into the park furniture.



Left to right: Social benches and a temporary shade structure from past Cambridge programs.