Get Your Bench

The Public Bench Project will give a bench to people in the Inner Sunset, or another neighborhood around San Francisco, who want to put a bench in the public realm outside their building. *

If you want a bench, email us at publicbenchprojectsf@gmail.com. A donation to cover materials costs is appreciated but nobody is turned away for lack of funds.

The bench we’re sharing is called “The Duderstadt Bench” (see right), created by local bench expert Chris Duderstadt. It’s sturdy and comfortable.

* The below guide provides more information about obtaining and installing this bench. Please read it carefully before contacting us.

Bench Information Guide

What are the Duderstadt Bench’s dimensions?

33 inches high
24 inches deep
6 feet long (the length can be altered if necessary).

How can I get a bench?

We’ll just give it to you – honestly! Just email us at publicbenchprojectsf@gmail.com. Tell us who you are, where you’d put the bench, and your phone number for us to call you to sort out logistics. A donation to cover materials costs is appreciated but nobody is turned away for lack of funds. We can’t guarantee a bench for everyone who contacts us (we review all applications to make sure giving a bench to any particular person is a good idea), but the chances are good.

Why would I want to install a bench?

Benches are a wonderful way to contribute to the neighborhood. A bench builds community by giving people a place to meet friends and neighbors; provides a rest space for tired walkers, the elderly, and others; adds an artistic piece of furniture for all to see; and lets the world know that you care about community.

Where can I put the bench?

  • You must place your bench in public (eg. not on private property).
  • We suggest a place with a decent volume of foot traffic.
  • No permit is required unless benches are bolted into the sidewalk.
  • Leave open 6 feet of sidewalk width.

Is this legal?

Yes! However, before installing the bench…

  • Make sure you leave 6ft of sidewalk clearance.
  • If you drill the bench into the sidewalk, you must obtain a City permit.
  • Ask permission from the building owner and any tenants or other relevant parties.

Make your bench look unique

We suggest painting your bench to make it look unique and inviting. Wouldn’t it be great if artistically painted benches became a neighborhood signature, a bit like the Hearts of San Francisco? That’s what we think.

Look after your bench

  • To avoid its mysterious disappearance, chain the bench to an immovable item. With a permit you can bolt the bench to the sidewalk.
  • Make it obvious that the bench is for everybody by putting a sign saying something like “This is a public space, feel free to sit”.
  • Consider putting a contact (email, etc) on the bench to enable feedback from neighbors. Be responsive and empathetic to any comments.
  • Keep the bench and surrounding area clean.

Won’t the bench be vandalized or used antisocially?

We’ve found that undesirable bench uses are rare and easily outweighed by the benefits of having such seating permanently available. And graffiti taggers and vandals generally respect obviously cared-for street furniture, especially if the bench is painted with art.

Build a community space around your bench

Consider adding elements such as plant pots, art, a community notice board, and so on, around the bench.

Further resources

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