Temporarily public


Look around at your city at what is provided for citizens to freely use. Here in Lucerne, along with widely available two-wheeled parking spots, the prevalence of air pumps is also notable. Bicycles and scooters are deeply integrated into daily urban life, and their tires benefit from frequent top-offs such as those provided by this piece of public infrastructure.


Also notable is the threshold of trust built into this piece of otherwise-private-infrastructure-made-public.  Its ability to be disassembled and stored inside the nearby shop the end of the day speaks to the calculation of the sacrifice of convenience for some (whose evening arrival disqualifies them from using the pump), as well as the perceived value of this piece of infrastructure. Is there truly a significant risk of someone taking this air pump and using it for themselves if left overnight, or is this perceived fear of public-theft-for-private-use more “imagined” than actual?


When providing  a gratis service, consider how the risk/benefit calculus changes for the service provider; how would this be used/treated differently if, like many gas stations in the US, it dispensed air after only after devouring the appropriate amount of quarters? This would likely alter its form factor to be permanently usable, less “steal-able”, and its “open hours” extended past its present hours (the same as the hours of the adjacent business).


I wonder if this wheeled bench I saw later in the afternoon functions similarly; rolled out to welcome during the day, rolled back inside when the (business) day is over.


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