20 Times Designers Made The World Better With 'Friendly Architecture'

Ashley Hunte
A woman sitting at a picnic table that can convert into a bench with a backrest.
reddit | p50cal

The world of architecture and design is kind of cool, don't you think? Like, there are so many cool, creative ways to make ordinary objects really useful, or "friendly" to the world.

The cool objects in this list were clearly designed by people who wanted to add a little kindness into this world. Here's hoping they keep up the good work!

"A neighbor built this fence around a tree instead of cutting it down."

A fence that's been built around a nearby tree.
reddit | booklover2628

Hey, if you don't have to cut a tree down, why not do what you can to keep it up? Plus, by the time the tree grows big enough to start "eating" the fence, it'll probably be time to replace it anyway.

"Solar park bench with USB charging ports."

A park bench with a charging port and solar panels.
reddit | ruskayaprincessa

I don't understand why we haven't converted every park bench into a USB charger by now. This is probably one of the coolest things I've ever seen, and it seems so simple, too!

"Public Bench with Pillow."

A man resting his head on the side of a park bench that's been lifted to make a rest.
reddit | adnansom

See, efforts should be made to give homeless people safe places to stay. But until we can actually eliminate homelessness, this kind of thing is way better than, like, those benches that keep people from lying down on them.

"These bollards double as chairs [bonus car-in-bike-path in the background]."

Bollards on the side of a road, which also double as a table and stools.
reddit | orqa

Well, not much can be said for that car that's in the completely wrong lane. But those bollards that have a double function are actually really cool!

They kind of look like tiny mushrooms.

"Kassel Kerbs, concave curbs that help align low-floor bus wheels so passengers can roll-on & roll-off."

A recessed street curb with room for a bus to lower itself so that people with mobility issues can climb in/out of it easily.

It's simple things like this that make the world so much more accessible. People in wheelchairs or who are pushing strollers will have a much easier time using buses with these kinds of curbs.

"A duck ramp is something we need more of."

A duck ramp at the side of a stretch of concrete that overlooks a lake.
reddit | Parker1055

Sometimes, a friendly design might not benefit people that much. But as long as it still benefits nature in any way, it's just fine in my book. Plus, wouldn't it be so fun watching little ducks waddle along that ramp?

"Old City, Jerusalem added 4km of wheelchair-accessible routes in 2019 (and cleared it with UNESCO)."

A walkway in Jerusalem with ramps for wheelchair users.

Every old city/country needs to start doing things like this. The world wasn't built for disabled people, which is why we need to make it more accessible now.

"Crab migration bridge, Christmas Island, Australia."

Hundreds of crabs climbing along an elevated path set over a road.

I bet as soon as this thing was built, the local crab population exploded. After all, the little crab bridge means that less of them will end up becoming roadkill.

"Wall of Kindness, Norwich, Vermont, USA."

A public coat rack called the "Wall of Kindness" that encourages people to leave coats they don't need, or take coats they do.

I guess this is kind of like one of those little free libraries, except it'd be a lot more meaningful for people in cold weather. Hopefully the Wall of Kindness gets put to good use!

"Our park has a wheelchair swing."

A swing that's been build specifically to allow wheelchair users to access it.
reddit | mariekebooysen

This is actually really cute! And I feel like it would mean a lot to kids who use wheelchairs (and adults, for that matter). Everyone deserves to be able to have fun in spaces that are made to include them.

"This gate that allows horses but not vehicles."

A gate with a recessed section in the middle that blocks cars, but allows foot and horse traffic.
reddit | Blencathra

Now this is how you keep a space safe for pedestrians (and horseback riders, I guess). There are plenty of roads for a car to drive on, they don't need to invade every space.

"In Norway you get a small amount of money for recycling bottles/cans. They're often collected by poor people, homeless etc.."

A garbage can with holders for cans and bottles on the side.
reddit | juli__69

"A lot of our trash cans has these holders around them so people don't have to search through the trash to collect them."

Collecting cans and bottles to sell to recycling plants definitely isn't just a Norway thing, but these Norwegian garbage cans are definitely next level!

"Wheelchair friendly sandboxes."

An elevated sandbox with room underneath for a wheelchair user to access.

It's actually kind of amazing how... easy it is to make everyday items a lot more wheelchair friendly. I hope that someday, we can see fully accessible playgrounds for all kids and their parents.

"Homeless bench, Vancouver, Canada."

A screenshot for an Instagram ad for a park bench that opens up to reveal a small shelter for homeless people to rest under.
reddit | bigredpanda_

I feel like the world would be a much better place if we treated the homeless with even just a little bit more respect. Bench designs like this would probably mean a lot for someone who has nowhere else to go.

"These two coin lockers that are easily accessible in a wheelchair."

A section of lockers that were built for wheelchair access.
reddit | redsterXVI

Again, this feels like something so simple that would really go a long way in terms of accessibility for disabled people. Plus it just looks so cool!

"Turtle Tunnels in Japan, protecting the turtles crossing train tracks and stopping trains from derailing due to turtles!!"

A tunnel beneath a train track that allows for turtles to pass through.
reddit | p3yeet

Not only is this really good for the trains, but it's good for the turtles (and tortoises?) too! We really can have it all.

"Pool that is also accessible for people on wheelchairs."

An indoor pool with a wheelchair accessible ramp.
reddit | bunny_momma_2794

Actually, I think this specific design is pretty common. I'm betting you've probably seen this in a gym or a rec center before. After all, pools are really good for rehabilitation.

"A park bench that can fold to a table."

A woman sitting at a picnic table that can convert into a bench with a back rest.
reddit | p50cal

This is honestly so cool! Sometimes you need a table. Other times, you just need a bench. But if these things were in every city, you could literally have it all.

"Wildlife Overpass, Trans-Canada Highway, Banff National Park, Canada. The 38 passes and fencing have reduced wildlife-vehicle collisions by more than 80%."

A highway with bridges that have trees and greenspace on top of them.

Okay, now this is super awesome! It'll keep animals (I'm thinking moose especially) away from the roads. Plus it's just really pretty.

"They put rails under the benches in this park so you can always be in the shadow."

A park bench on rails that can be moved to different locations.
reddit | shewalkinglikea

This is a really great idea, because there's seriously nothing worse than sitting on a park bench that's ever-so-slightly out of the shade.