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Smart Street Furniture

How does Smart City technology integrate itself in the urban public realm? The answer is primarily going to be in street furniture. How will the standard park bench and bus stop adopt smart technologies? What will the street furniture of the future look like? It might look like Project BenchMark from MIT’s Civic Data Design...

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Date

February 28, 2018

How does Smart City technology integrate itself in the urban public realm? The answer is primarily going to be in street furniture. How will the standard park bench and bus stop adopt smart technologies? What will the street furniture of the future look like?

It might look like Project BenchMark from MIT’s Civic Data Design Lab and the Gehl Institute. The modular benches integrate with a smart phone app and track how people are using, moving, and gathering around urban street furniture. The design of the benches themselves may not be that innovative to the user, but the data they are collecting allows those who manage the public space to make more well informed decisions about the needs and habits of their users. Learn more about the project in their final report.

Project BenchMark at MIT’s Civic Data Design Lab

A schematic drawing of the bench prototype by Project BenchMark at MIT’s Civic Data Design Lab. Image Credit: Gehl Institute

Smart street furniture can also help those navigating the streets who are most in need of assistance by increasing accessibility. The video below shows a set of British installations, by Ross Atkin Associates and landscaping company Marshalls, that uses can opt into interacting with based on their individual needs. Users would obtain an RFID tag and log into a digital system to choose the features they need their tag to activate, such as brighter street lights or more time to cross the street. When the users tag is detected by this smart furniture, it would activate to increase their ease of navigation. Watch the video below for more details, or read more on Wired.

What other urban installations have you seen that change traditional street furniture by integrating new technologies? Let us know your favourites by using the hashtag #IBIThink on twitter.

 

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash