Supporting placemaking and putting outdoor spaces at the heart of residential communities

Posted on 18th June 2024

Supporting placemaking and putting outdoor spaces at the heart of residential communities

Developers who seek to deliver residential schemes which prioritise quality of life for residents are increasingly focusing on the design of outdoor spaces that incorporate a more diverse range of external elements.

This trend is reflected in the projects Bailey Street Furniture Group (BSFG) has undertaken for clients over the past few years, ranging from large-scale new housing developments that will create entire new communities to ultra-contemporary city centre apartments.

No matter the style or location of the housing, all developments centred on placemaking share common objectives. Their design views the public areas around houses and apartment blocks as not only functional but also appealing and engaging, encouraging people to spend more time in them.

From providing the facilities and equipment for children to play and residents to socialise, to facilitating exercise and supporting cycle use, there are numerous objectives that developers may want to achieve. The key to realising these goals is partnering with suppliers who understand which products and systems could be deployed, whether this is from a standard range or bespoke solutions.

This is why BSFG has become a supplier of choice amongst residential developers for its numerous collections of street furniture elements, canopies and shelters, playground and sports facilities and cycle parking systems. The company’s four divisions ensure developers can access a complete package of products with the full support of its design team to unlock the potential of the latest solutions.

Creating attractive outdoor spaces

Street furniture choices are hugely important when it comes to delivering outdoor spaces with maximum visual appeal and functionality. This is important in fostering a sense of community, encouraging active lifestyles and enhancing the overall desirability of the properties located there – so both socially and economically beneficial.

BSFG has worked with numerous developers to provide stylish elements including functional products like seating, litter bins and signage, as well as aesthetic enhancements such as planters. The options are vast, including those available from Bailey Streetscene and numerous ranges from Artform Urban, who partner with some of the world's most highly respected street furniture designers, offering a solution for every type of development.

Facilitating sustainable transport

Another important consideration is how to integrate facilities that encourage residents to incorporate cycling into their daily routines, while providing peace of mind for bike owners. Key to this is the integration of cycle parking facilities within developments, in addition to cycle lane provision, which enable cyclists to park with confidence in a secure and potentially sheltered location.

By designing the development in a way that helps more people switch from using cars to cycling, the overall sustainability credentials will be enhanced. This is chiefly because cycling helps to cut road congestion, thus helping to improve air quality in busy urban areas, and it contributes to a healthy lifestyle.

There are a wide variety of options here available from BSFG. These range from high quality secure cycle parking and storage facilities provided by Cyclepods, which are ideal for city centre apartment developments, to numerous cycle stand and shelter options from Bailey Streetscene and Artform Urban.

Streetpods installed at Barrat Homes East london

One example of how Cyclepods solutions can work effectively in apartment developments is a project the company was involved in for Barratt Homes in East London. Here, its Secured by Design certified Streetpod cycle parking units were installed to accommodate 150 bikes, providing sheltered, secure parking for residents and visitors.

Enhancing community connectivity

Street furniture choices can also be important in creating outdoor spaces that help to bring a new community together as one Bailey Streetscene project in Houghton Regis demonstrates.

Seating and litter bins at linmere residential project in houghton regis

At Linmere, a substantial street furniture package was provided for the creation of new leafy and walkable neighbourhoods, forming a well-connected new community surrounded by 90 acres of open green space and landscaped parks. This included extensive seating, cycle parking at the Farmstead (a cultural hub and café), and a children’s playground.

Creating child-friendly environments

Many larger residential developments may already be designed to include amenities for children to play and socialise, but with the range of options available today from BSFG company AMV Playgrounds, the scope to integrate these into all kinds of housing schemes – large and small – is greater than ever.

combo activity trail ideal for playgrounds in residential projects

The solutions available range from complete playgrounds to individual or groups of elements that can feature within green spaces and along pedestrian pathways. For example, AMV trim trails, playframes, activity panels and outdoor musical instruments can be dotted around spaces to encourage activity and exercise, as well as in combination to form safe and secure children's play areas.

Strengthening community identity through customisation and branding

Outdoor spaces can also be created in a way that integrates a development’s brand or identity through the customisation of street furniture elements. As a manufacturer, BSFG can provide bespoke designs for its street furniture products which allows for logos, crests and other visual cues to be incorporated, helping to strengthen the connection between the outdoor spaces, residential units and other communal facilities.

Branded street furniture at linmere residential project

An example of how this can work is at the Linmere development. Here, Bailey Streetscene provided several types of seats and benches – Greengate Seats, Shafton Benches and Curved Hyde Benches – with a uniformed slatted design across the site, all powder coated to Anthracite Grey RAL 7016 and clad with durable hardwood timber featuring ‘LINMERE’ branding.

Creating whole new neighbourhoods

One of the ways BSFG supports developers is in how best to design and create outdoor spaces in major new residential schemes. The relatively large areas that these types of developments offer enables architects and masterplanners to meet multiple objectives and create award winning communities.

seating and litter bins for wordford garden village

In addition to the Linmere development, for which Bailey Streetscene provided multiple elements across the site, BSFG has worked on numerous large projects with one of the most recent being Woodford Garden Village in Cheshire. This development by Harrow Estates will eventually provide over 5,000 new homes and includes a strip of parkland equipped with BSFG products. These products were strategically placed along a preserved section of the former aerodrome runway, which has been transformed into a scenic parkland that serves as a central feature, connecting various play areas and streets within the development.

bespoke seating at waterbeach barracks in cambridgeshire

Another recently completed major scheme which features BSFG products is Waterbeach in Cambridgeshire. This extensive development maximises the value of its outdoor spaces in line with its core vision to offer beautiful landscapes that give residents instant access to an active, healthy lifestyle. To help the developer to achieve this goal, Artform Urban provided a range of bespoke accessible seating in a variety of heights and sizes dotted around the 23 acre lake, dappled woodland and wide-open green spaces.

Creative solutions for urban residential projects

City centre living has boomed in many of the UK’s major cities in recent years and BSFG has worked closely with developers to ensure they can provide well-equipped, attractive outdoor spaces as part of their schemes. One of the most active urban development hotspots is Manchester, and it is here where some excellent examples of the group’s solutions can be found.

roof terrace furniture include, planter, seating, tables and loungers and pergolas at excelsior works in manchester

At Excelsior Works located along the city’s Bridgewater Canal, Bailey Streetscene worked with GMI Construction Group to create a roof terrace complete with seating, picnic sets, pergolas and loungers, as well as bespoke planter systems. The client’s goal to create a sophisticated place for owner-occupiers with usable communal areas that overlook onto the canal was successfully achieved to a very high standard.

bespoke oak seating and tables at catle wharf residential garden

In another project at Castle Wharf, BSFG continued its ongoing partnership with Renaker who have over recent years single-handedly transformed the Manchester city centre skyline. In this project, Artform Urban supported the developer in the creation of an exterior terrace with a package of complementary street furniture elements including large aged oak beams mounted onto steel frames, as well as inset into the sandstone planter walls, to create a plethora of seating options. These included high tables and stools for dining and socialising.

deansgate square pricate roof terrace featuring bespoke planter and seating elements from BSFG

A final example of BSFG products deployed in urban residential developments is at Deansgate Square. Here, Artform Urban worked with Renaker to equip extensive roof garden spaces for residents in three of Manchester’s tallest buildings, which included bespoke planter systems with integrated seating, table tennis tables, high tables and stools and litter bins.

Find out more about the solutions available to maximise the potential of outdoor spaces in residential developments at

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