Trench grates go unnoticed in many urban landscapes, doing their work until they fail. At that point, everyone notices the streets are flooded. The history of trench drainage dates back to the Roman empire. Trench grates are central to a functioning urban infrastructure, but apart from that they can add aesthetic value to the urban landscape. The good thing is that an imaginative urban landscape will not be short of variety in design, color, and patterns to work with.
Tools for Functional Beauty
Trench grates should first play their primary role as safety features in the urban landscape. Decorative trench drain grates are good to look at, but they also protect pedestrians from serious injury. They cover trench drains such that pedestrians do not have to hop over them, or walk with their eyes on the ground all the time.
They also contribute to vehicular safety. Trench grates cover drains that go across roads and streets ensure vehicle wheels do not get stuck into drains. Heavy duty trench grates can also be made to look beautiful. Cast iron trench grates are easy to decorate with motifs when casting.
Trench grates also have the important role of keeping cities’ infrastructure in working shape. By channeling water away from the surface, trench drains prevent water from pooling and its deleterious effects.
Elements for More Appealing Public Spaces
City public spaces are shared by millions of the residents. They all want to feel that they belong, and that they own the public spaces. The way urban landscape design is done can help residents feel closer to the spaces they live and work in. Well, thought-out urban design appeals to people of different backgrounds.
Trench grates are the one element of urban design where city authorities can bring out the best side of a city with little costs. Some cities organize contests for decorating trench grates. City residents, including the youth, can take part in such design efforts. This approach to design is more inclusive and more acceptable to city residents.
Beautiful trench grates form part of the whole appealing design. A beautiful sidewalk is only seen if the all-other connecting elements including trench grates are attractive. Beautiful spaces make cities more welcoming and better used. These spaces attract more pedestrian traffic and also more investments. The city makes better use of its spaces by making them more appealing.
Tools for Public Engagement
Drainage is one of the biggest concerns for city residents. Unlike the countryside, stagnant water in an urban landscape has no ground to seep into. The water pools and becomes a danger to the city residents. Decorative trench grates are a constant reminder that the city is functioning and habitable.
Some cities have discovered that this participatory approach to urban design also helps protect the city’s infrastructure. If you invite the youth to decorate the trench grates in their neighborhoods, it is unlikely that they will come back to vandalize the same trench grates. They will also not look kindly to anyone else spoiling their efforts. In this fashion, city authorities can encourage a kind of collective care effort for the city’s infrastructure.
Good design will only happen with the input of the city residents. What do the residents think about the color of the trench grates? Do they think that the motifs on the grates represent their values? Civic engagement on something as simple as trench grates opens the door for the city authorities to engage residents.
City residents’ engagement and participation in decorating simple trench grates helps them feel in control of their development processes. In this way, all the city residents feel they are stakeholders in what is going on in their city.
Tools for Urban Design Experiment
Cities are dynamic and always evolving. Their design must evolve with them to reflect the values of their residents and the utility of their spaces. Trench grates are easy elements to experiment with when trying out design changes.
It is possible to experiment with different designs, colors, and patterns of decorative trench grates at little cost. Stone concrete trench grates, for example, are available in different traditional slotted designs, but can also be found in other varieties.
When changing the design, it is easy to install the different designs and look at the public reception. Changing decorative trench grates is not expensive. It gives the city authorities leeway to experiment with different designs without committing too much public money.
Experimenting with decorative trench grates gets the residents interested in what is happening and sparks a conversation. What do city authorities intend to showcase in their new design? What is the role of city residents in this new design? These are some questions that simple experiments on trench grates will help start conversations about.
Decorative trench grates are simple, but they play several crucial roles in an urban setting. They are indispensable in the holistic appeal of a city’s public spaces.
Image Credits: Jonite