“People tend to sit the most where there are places to sit,” concluded William H. Whyte (1988:110) in his book City: Rediscovering the Center. As obvious as this may seem, even useless, it is at the same time a powerful fact that has been tested in many settings – from Manhattan to Oslo via Copenhagen; it is a scientifically proven relationship.
In Nicosia, people have moved from the once bustling main shopping street, Makarios Avenue, and have reappeared in the old town, where cafés have multiplied like mushrooms after the autumn rain; now people flock to sit in the pedestrian streets of Ledra and Onasagorou. The Cypriot outdoor café culture has expanded rapidly in the old walled city, bringing activities of recreational value. But did public-free facilities, like public benches, keep pace with the vibrant corporate initiatives and their abundant outdoor seating options? In that respect how does the old city of Nicosia compare with other city centres in terms of the quality and variety of the public offering? In a nutshell, the answers to these two questions are no and not so good.
Having this in mind, Urban Gorillas decided to take over the streets of Nicosia in an attempt to record the number of public seating available against the private seating offered by the city’s cafes. With our findings, we created a study which includes among others a map of the benches available in the Old City, comparison of Nicosia’s available public space with other cities such as Stockholm and Melbourne, ratings of Nicosia’s public spaces as well as an overall summary. You can find our findings in the 8th issue of the Cyprus Dossier and by clicking on the link below.
Cyprus Dossier Issue 08 “Good, Bad and Ugly: Public Benches in the Old Walled City of Nicosia” by René Carraz and Veronika Antoniou – View PDF here: Good Bad and Ugly