Fortunately, a wind of change seems to be rising. One signal is the art of Greyworld, a group of four designers (artists? publicists?) who decided to declare war and make art that's close to people, interesting, enchanting, and thus - public, in the proper meaning of the word, that is, accessible to a (general) public. Their most recent work is called Bins and Benches, and
is a collection of intelligent street furniture which will move independently within the extensive public piazza in front of The Junction [Cambridge, UK]. In-built technology will allow these unique items to respond to the needs of the humans that share their habitat. This will include sympathetic responses to weather conditions.The benches will flock together at certain times of day, hide in shadow when the sun is burning, or under protection when it's raining. They to have people sit down on them, and so will try to attract the people e.g. at night gathering closer to the club zone, or forming geometric shapes to attract attention. The trash bins are more shy and solitary, they usually wander alone, though they like the benches and sometimes stick around them. (an extended description is here).
That's how it looks in written form. I am anxious to read a review.
Greyworld have several other very pretty public projects. You can find them on their site. It's also worth checking out the diversity of the projects proposed to the Junction's invitiation-only contest. I must say, though, that the Bins and Benches seem to have deserved the victory.