In June of 2017, the Hello, How Are You? project team in collaboration with CITYlab, launched the Buddy Bench pilot project. The benches are a way to support Edmontonians and draw awareness to the Hello, How Are You? campaign -- the City Council initiative to address urban isolation and loneliness. Edmontonians who may be in company can sit on the benches, prompting passersby to stop and say "Hello, How Are You?".
The buddy bench idea was first proposed to councillors and administration by a young Edmontonian who was inspired by a similar bench at his elementary school.
The benches demonstrate another example of how placemaking can be a tool to realize a community inspired idea, add to the public realm, increase awareness and strive for a more connected and healthy city.
Seventeen benches will be installed throughout the city; at transit stations, in front of seniors residences, at libraries, and in parks. The pilot will run until the fall of 2017.