Public space is an essential component of any great city. It brings people together to socialize, recreate, and work. More pointedly, it attracts people to the city, builds relationships, and spurs innovation and new ideas that fuel a city’s economic growth. How we optimize the investments made in our streetscapes, plazas, parks, and greenways is important to each individual project’s success and the city as a whole. Are the places being built fulfilling their promise? If so, could they be doing more and if not, how do they need to change?
As budgets get tight and the competition for resources within a city’s budget increases, it becomes even more essential to answer these questions. We need to get the most out of our existing public spaces and when designing those in the future we need to make sure we build upon the successes and don’t repeat past mistakes. Continue reading
The rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) will forever transform the urban landscape as it begins to permeate our cities with a robust distributed network of unique sensors that can actively communicate with one another to deliver information about their surroundings and/or execute specific tasks. The migration of the internet from cyberspace to the real world is intrinsic to the concept of the Smart City. The network can provide streams of data for helping us make more informed decisions about the design and management of public space as well enable environments to be more responsive.
According to BI Intelligence, the amount of devices comprising the Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to grow to over 9 billion by in 2018. Some industry leaders have even estimated IoT devices will exceed one trillion by 2022. Either way the growth of these devices is staggering. Designers of the urban environment will soon be faced with the issues of how and if to incorporate and utilize the IoT Smart City infrastructure.
The humble and ubiquitous area light has undergone a considerable transformation itself over the last few years and could be the backbone making this future possible. As LED lighting is quickly becoming the de facto standard for new outdoor illumination and existing luminaires are being replaced with LED fixtures everyday to reduce energy consumption, lighting’s power systems are aligning with those of electronic systems. This commonality and conversion may be the key to accelerating the proliferation of a Smart City sensor network by providing an existing platform for deploying it in the landscape. Imagine every light fixture having the potential to include a multitude of embedded sensors with access to the internet and the ability to communicate with one another and other devices. Continue reading