Public Security and the Safety Bollard: Practicality Meets Beauty
The term “safety bollard” conjures up a host of different images depending on one’s background and perspective. For all too many people, though, it creates images of ugly metal poles that remind them of military forts or maximum security prisons. Fortunately, this is no longer the case in a growing number of settings. Today’s bollards take a variety of attractive forms. The following are some examples:
- Tree, shrubbery, or floral containers – large rock or concrete structures designed to hold soil frequently double as both landscaping and public safety improvements. This is an especially satisfying alternative to traditional bollard construction. It beautifies the surrounding location and discourages unauthorized activity at the same time.
- Walkway guides or borders – these retain much of the traditional shape of the safety bollard while improving their appearance. By being cast in curvilinear shapes and pleasing colors, these objects avoid the cold, utilitarian look of older designs, while still accomplishing the central purpose of limiting access to certain areas. As an added bonus, these bollards can often accommodate cables, lengths of chain, or even nighttime lighting for extra utility.
- Objects of art – this approach to safety bollard design, completely disguises the practical purpose of these objects by reinterpreting them as statues, geometric forms, or public monuments. It’s especially appropriate for large public areas such as parks and greenways. Modern methods of coloring and casting concrete make these designs easier to create and install than ever before.
- Covers – traditional steel post or concrete bollards can be covered with colored plastic or polished steel covers to conceal internal functional bollards. Plastic covers resist corrosion and do not require maintenance painting while polished stainless steel covers offer similar long-term aesthetics. Some plastic covers even offer architectural design elements. (Image courtesy of IdealShield)
Today’s urban planners face the ever-present challenge of ensuring safety while also tending to aesthetic concerns. Everyone wants added security, yet few people want to live in an area that resembles a fortified compound. These twin considerations drive the further evolution of safety bollards towards newer, more attractive designs. This is good news for all those who seek to improve the world’s public spaces.