It’s The Little Differences, Really, Part Two

I had about half an hour to kill this afternoon in the neighborhood of the university, so I decided to take this week’s Economist out to the Polyterrasse, a giant balcony behind the main building of ETH with a great, close-up view of the center of the city. I went out to one of the benches toward the corner (the better for the view though perhaps not for the glare of the sun). These benches are large wooden constructions, about four meters long and a meter and a half wide, with a rounded wooden back sticking up out of one side of the seat for two meters. This has the effect of dividing each bench into three sections: a couple of seats facing one direction, a couple of seats facing the opposite direction, back-to-back, and to the side a large flat space for laying down and reading, indeed, even sunning oneself if the weather is cooperative.

That's when it hit me. This city is full of benches. At the tram stops. Along the lakefront. Along the Limmat. On the Polyterrasse. And they are all flat. No spurious armrests. No ingenious uncomfortability. I mean, I'd gotten used to the fact that there are virtually no homeless people here, or at least, no people sleeping on the streets, except the drunks holding up the trees after a Euro match or Street Parade. But it had never occurred to me that when you have a place for everyone to sleep, you can build the benches with something other than discouraging sleeping in mind.
Brian Trammell
Brian Trammell
Scientist, Synthesist, Cyclist, SRE