Students from the Parsons School of Design at The New School have created a new temporary public space in New York from recycled fishing net and natural timber.

The recently unveiled Street Seats project sits in two parking spaces in Greenwich Village. Designed and constructed by students from multiple faculties, including Architecture, Interior Design and even Food Studies, it invites locals to sit, socialise and people-watch.

The team used naturally rot-resistant western red cedar to create the structural modules and countertops, while repurposed fishing nets was used as netting for the seats, planters and screens.

Planters are installed on the edges of the seating area, creating a restful environment while reducing noise from the street. Herbs and native plants were selected for their fragrance and ability to thrive in the urban environment. The seeds of the 13 species were donated by the Greenbelt Native Plant Center. Coconut fibre and jute webbing—both biodegradable materials—are also used here.

Operating independently from the grid, the lighting system was designed by lighting design graduate students, with assistance from Voltaic Systems. It relies on solar panels, batteries and energy efficient LED lights activated by a daylight sensor to provide artificial lighting when the sun sets.

Street Seats is an ongoing, citywide program of the New York City Department of Transportation, aimed at the creation of public open spaces at locations where sidewalk seating is not typically available.

In 2017, Parsons students delivered a solar-powered bamboo seating structure that was inspired by the use of bamboo in construction across multiple regions across Asia.


The 2017 design sat directly along the curb, acting as a multi-level planter that separated the road the sidewalk. The structure was built from 360 pieces of Vietnamese bamboo, with hanging plants suspended in 75 recycled water bottle pockets. Twelve solar panels mounted to the frame provided energy to LED lights.


Click here to find out more about the Street Seats program.

Photography courtesy of Parsons School of Design.