Earlier in the week I posted a list of nine things you could do to get to know a neighbourhood better. A couple of things I mentioned were loitering and eating in public. I’m aware the the opportunity to loiter or to have a public meal depends on having a good space to do it. I can think of a couple of neighbourhoods that I’ve visited a few times where it’s difficult to find a place where you can sit down and not be busy, because the whole space is designed to promote moving people through quickly. I like to look out for spaces that could easily accommodate loitering
or have been intentionally designed for people to congregate, and I thought I would review one of those places today.
My theory is that good places to linger, loiter and congregate are often liminal or in between spaces. These are the spaces where we move from once place to another like streets and laneways and doorways. In these gaps between places its not so clear who is in charge and I think that creates the opportunity for loitering. The bridge between Melbourne Central and the Emporium in Melbourne CBD is like that. On the bridge you’re not really in Melbourne Central or in the Emporium, you’re in the air above Lonsdale Street.
As I don’t currently have a desk or an office I’m always looking for public or semi-public spaces I can work from, and this is one of the places I’ve discovered. There are park benches all along the bridge, facing out across the city, so it’s a good spot to observe what’s going on in the neighbourhood. They can also make a good place to sit and work – although it would be more handy to have a table or desk. 🙂 However, another positive thing about the park benches is that they aren’t secured, so they can be easily rearranged to face each other, creative a good place to catch up with others. I’d be interested to see how this spot would work as a place to meet up with a few people and share a meal.
One downside that I see to this space is that the aesthetics are very modern and reminiscent of Ikea, which isn’t so much to my taste, but the view of the city along with the flexibility of the space make me thing that this is a good space for public loitering.
Where would you recommend as a place to loiter?