The power of negative thinking

We should all spend more time considering the prospect of failure and what we might do about it

For a road sign to be a road sign, it needs to be placed in proximity to traffic. Inevitably, it is only a matter of time before someone drives into the pole. If the pole is sturdy, the results may be fatal.

The 99% Invisible City, a delightful new book about the under-appreciated wonders of good design, explains a solution. The poles that support street furniture are often mounted on a "slip base", which joins an upper pole to a mostly buried lower pole using easily breakable bolts.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2020, with the headline 'The power of negative thinking'. Print Edition | Subscribe