Street Furniture Australia, with support from the ACT Government, has begun the Discovery phase for #WodenExperiment, a six-month furniture installation to activate Woden Town Square in Canberra. Members of the community, local businesses and politicians gathered to discuss the project and share their experiences of the square at a workshop held in March. Around 40 participants brainstormed issues and opportunities for the square around Retail Experience, Community Involvement, Comfort and Amenity, and Wow Factor. “It was exciting to see so many people filling the room, with a great mix of people from community, business and local government creating an atmosphere of high energy and interest,” says Diana Hill, Manager Capital Works – Urban with Transport Canberra and City Services. “As a result many great ideas about issues and opportunities were discovered …
In Profile: Adam Beck
As Founding Executive Director of the Smart Cities Council Australia New Zealand, Adam Beck has a mission to accelerate sustainability in cities and towns through technology, data and intelligent design.
The Council partnered with AILA and the Internet of Things Alliance Australia to demonstrate these ideas in action in Sydney with the Future Street, designed by Place Design Group as part of the 2017 International Festival of Landscape Architecture.
Beck is also an Ambassador with Portland-based think tank EcoDistricts, a former lecturer and studio lead in social impact assessment and community engagement at the University of Queensland, and spent 15 years with global consulting firms like Arup.
He shares his Future Street findings and vision for next-gen cities in a smarter, more sustainable world.
What can we learn from Future Street?
Future Street exceeded our expectations, completely. The response from the community and government of all levels, as well as industry, was extremely positive. The key message we received was clear – why can’t all streets be like this? This taught us that there are high aspirations of the community that their cities could have more productive streets that can give more.
The other thing that Future Street revealed was that all components (green, complete and smart) provide the best outcome, and leaving any one component out of the equation would be detrimental to the city.
Now that Future Street is over, where to next?
We think the Future Street installation in Sydney has provided us with some important feedback and intelligence to drive a more comprehensive, national agenda to advocate for these types of streets in our cities. We are in a very good place to drive these outcomes, and we plan on documenting the design into a Future Street Playbook, to help others embrace the concept in their own cities.
We also have a number of local governments and private sector developers interested in building their own Future Street, which is a great outcome.
What role does street furniture play in our future streets?
As we saw at Future Street in Sydney, street furniture is changing, fundamentally, to include multiple functions beyond its original purpose. Street furniture is now becoming a key part of our smart cities backbone – providing digital connectivity, powering our activities and embedding internet of things sensors that help us measure what’s going on in the urban environment.
The park bench and humble bin are now the ‘eyes and ears’ of the city, feeding critical information back to a place where the data can be analysed to help Councils make better, more transparent, investment decisions around design and maintenance practices. This is beyond exciting. It is a watershed moment in public place design, management and programming.
Smart cities is quite a niche – how did you get to where you are?
It is certainly a concept that means different things to different people, and at times can be quite polarising. It is however, quite simple – embrace the opportunity that technology, data and intelligent design can present in terms of accelerating sustainability aspirations for your city.
And in terms of how I found this smart cities opportunity, it was by accident, over a coffee with a friend when I was living in Portland Oregon. We then worked on it for a while before we launched last year, and having the world’s largest network of smart cities companies behind me is a favourable place to be in.
For me, with a well-grounded sustainability, liveability and workability agenda at the heart of smart cities, it was quite easy to get passionate about smart cities. Put simply, it’s the logical next stage in my sustainability career.
In Profile is a Q&A series featuring Australian influencers of the public realm.
Interviewees are players in the public sphere with compelling stories, not always affiliated with SFA.
To nominate a subject, please contact the editor via firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more about Future Street here.
Street Furniture Australia has used empathy interviews, personas, observations, journey mapping and other user-centred research techniques to focus #WodenExperiment on the community. These qualitative methods unearth rich detail about the lives and needs of people who use Woden Town Square. The aim is to inform the design of the six-month installation with a “community first” philosophy. “We employ user-centred design techniques in the making of our furniture, and #WodenExperiment now offers the opportunity to apply this methodology to public places,” says Mark Armstrong, Street Furniture Australia Design Director. “One of the challenges of public space is meeting the needs of people from many different walks of life. Through our empathy interviews and observations of the town square we have come up with six key personas to design for. “The personas …
ABC Radio Canberra’s Jolene Laverty chats with Street Furniture Australia’s June Boxsell about #WodenExperiment on Drive. The following is a transcript of the program, which aired on Wednesday April 4, 2018. JL. The social project that has increased foot traffic in Garema Place by 200% is going to be replicated in Woden. June Boxsell is the Design and Marketing manager of Street Furniture Australia and she runs these programs, hi June. JB. Hi there, thank you for having me. JL. Thank you for joining us. So it’s called the #WodenExperiment and it’s based on the very successful #BackyardExperiment, which was held in Garema Place a few years ago. Can you just take us back to 2016 and remind us what the Garema Place experiment was? JB. The #BackyardExperiment was a …
Driverless shuttles, park benches that charge your phone and bins that send alerts when they’re full – the Future Street showed smart cities are within our grasp today. The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA), Internet of Things Alliance Australia (IOTAA) and Smart Cities Council Australia New Zealand (SCCANZ) built the street of the future at Circular Quay on Alfred Street, in front of Customs House in October 2017. Place Design Group, as the design partner, curated Green, Complete and Smart Street zones to imagine the best placemaking outcomes for street designs of the future. “We found that people were using the seats, tables and platforms for work and social gatherings. Build it and they will come, is a good lesson for providing more infrastructure like this in our streets,” …
Alex Crowe is a young landscape architect, part of the AILA Fresh NSW project team delivering the AMP Activation for the 2017 International Festival of Landscape Architecture: The 3rd City in Sydney. The design team includes Alex Crowe, Michael White, Anina Carl, Ashley Darby and Faid Ahmad, partnering with Street Furniture Australia, AMP Capital, WE-EF LIGHTING, Andreasens Green and Blue Scope Steel to create a daytime hangout and evening event space. Furnished by Street Furniture Australia, the activation runs from October 11 to 15, between the AMP Towers on 33 Alfred Street and 50 Bridge Street, Circular Quay. Enter via Philip Street to see the efforts of the AILA Fresh NSW team and be inspired by young people imagining the future city. You’re currently involved in a ‘space activation installation’ by AILA Fresh NSW. What …
With so much to see at the 2017 International Festival of Landscape Architecture: The 3rd City coming up in Sydney this October, here are our top 7 event recommendations for an immersive street furniture experience. 1. Future Street Alfred Street, in front of Customs House, Circular Quay | 12-15 October 2017 The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA), Internet of Things Alliance Australia (IOTAA) and Smart Cities Council Australia New Zealand (SCCANZ) will build the street of the future in Sydney’s CBD, designed by the Place Design Group. A four-day celebration will showcase a range of landscape, IoT, utilities, transport, urban design and placemaking technologies and ideas. Street Furniture Australia will bring soon-to-be-released innovations including charging tables, flexible seating systems and smart bins to enliven your lunch break, outdoor meeting or commute. …