Smart technology 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.


How are shrewd urban communities intended to address subject issues? Enormous information from a system of sensors can give administrators and organizers a constant, huge picture diagram of activity streams, open transport support, and water and power utilities. In any case, the requirements of individuals in the city must be met at both the meta and miniaturized scale levels.

according to scientists, we need site-specific and real-time information on how people use and value public spaces. This involves asking questions such as who is using it, how, why and for how long?

UNSW scientists are investigating these questions in collaboration with Street Furniture Australia and Georges River Council in New South Wales, with funding from the Commonwealth Smart Cities and Suburbs Program.

Smart technology in public spaces can help create cities that are both smart and sociable
Image: UNSW

As urban communities densify and flat living turns into the standard, open outside spaces will be progressively imperative for ordinary socialization, and in addition unique get-togethers and festivities. Organizers and urban originators need to build up their comprehension of precisely how these profitable open spaces function to boost their social and useful pleasantry.

The group will record the point by point utilization of two open spaces. At, to begin with, conduct mapping will give nitty gritty observational data about what’s going on in the two spaces. The group will then implant imperceptible advanced sensors in and on-road furniture.

They will target outdoor tables, refuse containers, grills, seats, cigarette cinder repositories, bubblers, control focuses, and lights. The sensors will quantify use, including water and power utilization. They will likewise give constant messages to the board on whether, for instance, a fiery remains container is overheating, or a road bollard is harmed.

Data like this can be utilized to enhance the pleasantry and client experience of open spaces, and additionally help to deal with these spaces all the more productively.

The public spaces can be great social spaces or merely places for through traffic. An experiment in Canberra’s Garema Place by Street Furniture Australia shows how such a thoroughfare can be turned around. In response to simple design changes, such as seating, the number of people visiting and staying in the space grew. So too did the diversity of visitors, with families and children coming into space. This extra activity benefited nearby shops.

Smart technology can help to transform the traditional user experience and enhance the capacity of public open space to support 21st-century city living. Think, for instance, of additions such as Wi-Fi or plugin points for laptops and phones.

Image: UNSW

Cities around the world are exploring how technology can improve the management of public spaces and facilities and better connect residents with local facilities and events. In Tel Aviv, for example, residents are issued with the Digi Tel Card. The card gives live updates about:

  • rates and discounts available at sport and recreation facilities
  • what is happening in the city
  • personalized information based, for example, on cultural or music preferences
  • information about issues, such as roadworks or community events, that may disrupt streets.

While the advantages are many, more noteworthy utilization of innovation in parks and general society space brings up issues.

Generally, urban stops and open spaces have been places where individuals go to “loosen up”, so introducing innovative gadgets there might be viewed as intrusive. A few people may likewise feel awkward about governments (but neighborhood ones) picking up information about them in a place where they need to unwind. Extra inquiries identify with security, information possession and how we can shield the innovation from vandalism.

Concerning worries about reconnaissance, the world has changed and the general population space domain has changed with it. Stroll through any significant Australian city CBD and you will be recorded on CCTV. Different shrewd card ticketing frameworks (Opal in NSW, myki in Victoria and go card in Queensland) give a nitty-gritty record of everybody’s developments on open transport. Programmed numberplate scanners on tollways and in squad cars are recording where we drive.

The impetus for this research and data-gathering is to assist local government decision-making. By identifying and collecting relevant data, councils will have much-needed evidence to improve people’s lives as they use different public spaces. New scenarios can be identified, offering alternatives to provide support for different urban activities.

Christian Tietz, Senior Lecturer in Industrial Design, UNSW; Christine Steinmetz, Senior Lecturer in Built Environment, UNSW; Homa Rahmat, Associate researcher, UNSW; Kate Bishop, Senior Lecturer, BEIL Director, Faculty of Built Environment, UNSW; Linda Corkery, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, UNSW; Miles Park, Senior Lecturer, Industrial Design, UNSW; Nancy Marshall, Senior Lecturer in City Planning, UNSW, and Susan Thompson, Professor of Planning and Head, City Wellbeing Program, City Futures Research Centre, UNSW.

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