Public benches should be viewed for health and wellbeing benefits – not anti-social behaviour, according to university research

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Hanging out on public benches should be recognised as essential for mental health and social wellbeing and should not be viewed as anti-social behaviour.

According to research published by the University of Sheffield and The Young Foundation, sitting on benches allows people to spend longer outside, which is beneficial for mental health and allows them to connect with others. It found access to free public benches was beneficial for physical health, as they can provide resting places for those with limited mobility.

Principal investigator Clare Rishbeth said: “It is heartening to find how sitting outside can improve quality of life for many people, and underlines the importance of socially aware design of both benches and public space.”