Managing Tables and Chairs in the Public Realm

Greeley Square_NYC_movable_tables_chairs

Tables and chairs in NYC

Local coffee shops vying to be the neighborhood’s “third place” understand the importance of providing tables and chairs for their customers. They understand while some people may want to lounge in sofas that per square foot, tables and chairs are a far more useful and appealing option to a wider array of customers. Those wanting to attract more people to visit and linger within public space are faced with the same choices.

Choice is is the keyword. It is one of the most critical components to successful public space. While site furniture options like benches and seat walls are inflexible and less useful than tables and chairs. While they do provide seating, they offer significantly  less options for users when they are the dominant seating choice. Their arrangement represents how the designer anticipated the users needs and how they may use the furniture. There is little if any room for these decision to be easily and cost-effectively changed in the future. Too often this inflexibility, diminishes a place’s potential and misses a large segment of users whose needs are not met.  Continue reading

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Enlightened Space: Will LED Lighting Be The Backbone of the Smart City?

Smart City Lighting Network

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