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Smart Street Furniture Improves City Life

By: Anne Rinaudo

Sensors in public spaces can help create cities that are both smart and sociable. Information from smart technology in public spaces could soon transform the way such areas are used and also managed.

Welcome to the era of smart street furniture that tells council the bin needs emptying or the park seat needs a clean. Soon you could be taking your electric kettle down to make a cuppa or charging your device on a smart pole.

Dr Christian Tietz is a Senior Lecturer in the Industrial Design program in the Faculty of the Built Environment at the University of New South Wales. Dr Tietz told Stephen O’Doherty on Open House, that as we move to higher density city living parks and other public environments take on a new importance.

He is working on a project in collaboration with Street Furniture Australia and Georges River Council in New South Wales, with funding from the Commonwealth Smart Cities and Suburbs Program that will see a whole new world open up for all of us who use public spaces.

Non-identifying data from a network of sensors can give managers and planners a real-time, big-picture overview of traffic flows, public transport patronage, and water and power use.

As cities densify and apartment living becomes the norm, public outdoor spaces will be increasingly important for everyday socialisation, as well as special gatherings and celebrations.

Planners and urban designers need to develop their understanding of exactly how these valuable public spaces work to maximise their social and functional amenity. For instance they can use the data to get feedback informing them the facilities are poorly located and need to be moved into a sunnier or less windy position.

Listen: Dr Christian Tietz in conversation with Stephen O’Doherty

Article supplied with thanks to Open House.

Anne is the producer of Open House – a weekly three-hour live talkback radio show exploring life, faith and Hope from a Christian perspective.

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