I had a chance to visit Geneva, Switzerland for a few days to attend LIFT08 conference. I only had a few hours of sightseeing, but it came across to me as very pragmatic in a way that people have optimized the design of the city for living over time. Here are a few things I noticed from its public space. I didn’t have the luxury of the local’s commentary on my observation, so I would welcome any other thoughts.
The trash collection bin was all metallic and left in the middle of the road, which I found unusual. Cornavin is the area where the central train station is, so this may be an exception.
The newspaper dispenser accompanied by a recycling bin.
An oversized road sign for the school area. This supports our experience in crossing streets. It seemed that pedestrians had the right of way wherever there was a mark for crossing without a traffic light. My colleague and I were honked at because we were waiting for the car to pass us. Having such an overt sign for the school area makes sense if this rule is in any way legalized â€“ in giving the car driver the responsibility for protecting the pedestrians at crossings. This habit was not easy to adopt as it is counter-intuitive in any other countries I have been to. I wondered how residents here coped with this when they went abroad. As a german friend of mine nicely puts it: “I don’t know how many Germans and Swiss people have died because they thought they had right of way in other countries.”
Another rare sight was the trash bin combined with the traffic light post, a benefit of being the neutral country.
The typical park signs – dogs and plants.
I liked the intuitive flushing buttons at the toilet in a restaurant somewhere in the old part of the town – removing the questionable moment of wondering which one to press for number 1 or 2.
A sign that seems to go well with the city.