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Ugly utilities

Utilities equipment is often unsightly, poorly designed, and placed without any consideration of aesthetics or the convenience of pedestrians. This album contains some examples.

Salt box spoils an otherwise attractive square. Could it have been placed more sensitively? Could a more sympathetic box have been used?  (Birmingham, UK, taken 15th March 2010)

Salt box spoils an otherwise attrac…

Chelmsford, Beaulieu Park. Unsightly utility covers manage to destroy the attempt at uniform brick paving

Chelmsford, Beaulieu Park. Unsightl…

Chelmsford, Beaulieu Park. Plastic utility boxes mar the street scene. The drainpipe sleave, careless filling of the

Chelmsford, Beaulieu Park. Plastic …

Chelmsford, Beaulieu Park. Did the architects forget that houses need utilities?

Chelmsford, Beaulieu Park. Did the …

Chelmsford, Beaulieu Park. Good urban design is spoilt by poor detailing, including this (broken already) plastic utilities box

Chelmsford, Beaulieu Park. Good urb…

Utilities box placed in the middle of the footway. Also a liiter bin placed to take up much of the remaining space for pedestrians! Crawley, West Sussex, taken in 2005

Utilities box placed in the middle …

Hulme, Manchester. This telecoms cabinet is particularly sensitively placed: in the middle of the footway adjacent to a pedestrian crossing. And there adjacent to the building is an unused space that would easily accommodate it. Oh, no of course, the telecoms company is only allowed to interfere with public space.

Hulme, Manchester. This telecoms ca…

Hulme, Manchester. Are the utility boxes meant to be a key feature of the detailed design of these houses?

Hulme, Manchester. Are the utility …

Tooting Bec Common, south london. A large mobile phone mast and cabinet take up a third of the footway adjacent to a busy road. The adjacent green space is protected common land, which should not be encroached on, but in this instance I would have made an exception. I doubt that any discussion took place, however, because the footway is generally seen as a convenient dumping ground for utility equipment.

Tooting Bec Common, south london. A…

Taken in Newtownards (Northern Ireland) town centre, 2009

Taken in Newtownards (Northern Irel…

Old Street, London. One can only guess...

Old Street, London. One can only gu…

Redundant utility equipment can be unsightly and hazardous. Why are utility companies not required to remove it, and at their own expense? (Taken in Southall, 2007)

Redundant utility equipment can be …

A bit of a puzzle this one! (Fife coast, 2011)

A bit of a puzzle this one! (Fife c…

Tooting Bec Common, south London. Telecoms cabinet obstructing the footway. While common land should be protected, on balance I would have given pedestrians priority in this instance, and set the cabinet at the back of the footway. In practice it is unlikely that any discusssion of this took place. Telecoms cabinets tend to be placed in the public highway because it is easy, and no negotiation is necessary.

Tooting Bec Common, south London. T…

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