World-First Smart ‘ChillOUT Hubs’ Designed and Built in Australia

ChillOUT Hub in Kogarah, NSW.

New experimental open-air smart hubs, created by Street Furniture Australia at our studio and factory in Western Sydney, have been officially launched by Georges River Council Mayor Kevin Greene on Thursday February 20, 2020.

“ChillOUT Hubs aim to offer some relief in our densifying cities by providing opportunities to meet, work or rest, and spend more time outdoors,” says Street Furniture Australia Head of Innovation June Lee Boxsell.

“Each hub packs a punch – integrating shade, seats and tables, charging stations, solar power, sensors, lighting, public WiFi, greenery, smart fountains and smart bins – a big feat combining tech, industrial design and placemaking,” she says.

Three hubs are already installed in the Georges River Council region in south Sydney as part of a pilot study for the Australian Government’s Smart Cities and Suburbs Program. They were the result of collaboration between the Council, the Smart Social Spaces research team from UNSW and the University of Sydney, and Street Furniture Australia.

Street Furniture Australia designed the hubs with input from its partners. Council undertook the overall project management, including installation. The Smart Social Spaces team is developing a digital asset management dashboard, and will evaluate the impact of the hubs with a formal study.

CM+ assisted with site plans, furniture arrangements and construction phase.

Additional seating and furniture featuring Wood Without Worry battens installed at the Kogarah ChillOUT Hub.

University of Sydney Associate Professor Nancy Marshall says her Smart Social Spaces research team was particularly interested in “how smart street furniture alters human behaviour in public open space, and how it might contribute to the community’s health and social well-being. We were also curious whether a dashboard could enable councils to more effectively manage their infrastructure,” she says.

“Person-on-the-street surveys are being conducted to give us a complete picture of why the hubs and their technologies are, or are not, being used. We are also analysing how the hubs impact the urban heat microclimate.”

Georges River Council Mayor Kevin Greene says that “as technology becomes more integrated into our lives, it’s important for councils to harness new technologies to better serve the needs of communities and improve services.”

“These new public spaces are an exciting achievement as we move towards our goal of creating a connected city,” he says.

Design Story

Before sketching the hubs, Street Furniture Australia undertook a discovery process to understand the user needs and aspirations of each site.

“We wanted to tailor each ChillOUT Hub to serve its community rather than creating a one-size-fits-all solution. The three sites are very different; spending time in each brought us many insights that are built into each design,” says Boxsell.

“For example, we have an urban streetscape in Kogarah between the train station, hospital and library, surrounded by offices. There are people constantly passing through. The Kogarah ChillOUT Hub allows you to stop and eat your lunch outside, work using the charging stations, or wait in comfort for a ride.

“We created user personas for all three sites, and designed the hubs around their needs. The ChillOUT Hubs became a ‘system’ or a kit of parts for site-specific solutions.”

Timothy Reserve Personas, from the ChillOUT Discovery Report, by Street Furniture Australia

Technology Concept

In the back end, the ChillOUT Hubs are connected to the IoT network to deliver data to councils to assist with decision-making, safety and maintenance management.

Sensors are embedded in the hubs to measure three areas: users, microclimate and utilities. Data sets include visitation and median dwell time; local UV, humidity and temperature levels; power and water use, and bin fill levels.

A digital dashboard, called SAMS (Smart Asset Management System), will display the information in one interface, and provide alerts for fire and power outage.

Testing ChillOUT Smart Tree electricals.

A Smart Future

The increase of high density living in cities brings greater pressure on public space to provide opportunities to rest, connect with community and immerse in nature. ChillOUT aims to test a model of how this could be achieved with smart furniture.

“In the context of smart cities, partnerships are vital in delivering successful outcomes. As long as there is a shared goal, a culture of trust and win-win outcomes, we believe collaborations are the way of the future for private industries,” says Boxsell.

“For Georges River Council, the Smart Social Spaces team and Street Furniture Australia, the community was at the heart of this project, so now it’s about listening to them to see how we can bring further amenity and enjoyment to their parks and public spaces. We are here to learn.” 

Lighting for safety and usability at night, Mortdale ChillOUT Hub.
ChillOUT Hub on a busy street in Kogarah.
Family time at the Timothy Reserve ChillOUT Hub in Hurstville.

Key Partners and Suppliers

Smart city projects cannot be delivered alone. Some of our key collaborators include:

  • CM+, architectural consulting
  • LX Group, IoT and electronics
  • Wattwatchers, energy monitoring
  • Smartsensor, eBin sensors
  • Onyx Solar
  • Solar Power Australia
  • TTW (Taylor Thomson Whitting) Engineering
  • Superlight LED Lighting
  • Total Control Electrical
  • WaterGroup, IoT for the smart drinking fountain


make an enquiry

Opening hours are from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

enquire now

recent news

Join Us For Tea Time (via Zoom)

Take a quick (and educational) tea break with us! Customers are invited to join a fast and interactive one-on-one Zoom chat with your local Street Furniture Australia representative to learn about street furniture trends, new products and latest projects.  Presentations are guaranteed no longer than 10-minutes plus Q&A. Each participant will receive a T2 Ten gift box. The T2 Ten box includes 10 teas and tisanes – China Jasmine, French Early Grey, Green Rose, Lemongrass & Ginger, Melbourne Breakfast, Morning Sunshine, New York Breakfast, Packs a Peach, Sleep Tight and Tummy Tea. Book by contacting Nancy on teatime@streetfurniture.com, or via the button below. Update: and the winner of the Tokyobike is … Tea Time participants from September to December in 2020 had a chance to win a Tokyobike Classic Sport. …

  • 25 sep 2020
read more

Introducing Linea

The Linea range is sleek and minimalist. 100% stainless steel frames support many colours, lengths and mounting types, including plinth and wall-fixed options.

  • 2 feb 2021
read more

First ASLA-AILA Meet Up: Homifying Sydney Olympic Park

ASLA San Diego, AILA NSW and Street Furniture Australia proudly present this online event connecting landscape architects from the US and Australia. US participants (Pacific Time): Thursday February 25th, 2021 at 5pm Australian participants (AEDT): Friday February 26th, 2021 at 12pm Registrations essential via Zoom. Topic: Homifying Sydney Olympic Park Public space owners, managers and designers in the US and Australia are dealing with the impacts of Covid-19. This webinar presents an Australian case study: Homifying Sydney Olympic Park, for discussion. This Olympic precinct turned business-and-events hub has pivoted towards its growing residential population during Covid. Human-centred design methodologies have been applied to understand how to ‘Homify’ the park’s everyday spaces. The aim is to recreate the comfortable ambience of home, to support the community and local businesses. The presentation …

  • 17 feb 2021
read more

related news

A First Look at Georges River Council’s Prototype ChillOUT Hubs

We’re pleased to share that the construction of our three ChillOUT Hubs is nearing completion, part of a pilot study for the Australian Government’s Smart Cities and Suburbs Program. ChillOUT Hubs are smart, open-air community spaces. The prototype installations offer people a free, comfortable place to meet, work and play. They also enable asset managers to monitor utilities, visitation and the microclimate. For more information see our article What Is ChillOUT? The official launch will take place in February 2020. The collaborative team of Georges River Council, UNSW and Street Furniture Australia will also host a series of events including a Council Knowledge Exchange, industry hackathon and tours to site. Please register your interest with Tiffany Hoy at editor@streetfurniture.com  Here is an update from each site. A Streetscape – Belgrave …

  • 12 dec 2019
read more

What is ChillOUT?

How might we increase community connectivity, enable knowledge exchange and provide flexible spaces to meet, work and play? ChillOUT, a collaborative project by Georges River Council, UNSW and Street Furniture Australia, seeks to answer this question. Cities are becoming compact. With this increase in high density living there is greater pressure on public space to provide opportunities to rest, connect with community and immerse in nature. What are ChillOUT Hubs? ChillOUT Hubs are prototype smart open-air community spaces. Each hub is configured using a modular system of Smart Tree shade structures, street furniture and integrated technology. They feature public WiFi, device charging, seats and tables, smart bins, smart drinking fountains, lighting, planter boxes and artwork. One of the sites – in Mortdale – runs via solar power. Sensors will monitor …

  • 22 oct 2019
read more

Smart City Partnership Wins Committee for Sydney Award

Georges River Council’s partnership with UNSW and Street Furniture Australia has received a Highly Commended Award for Cross Sectoral Collaboration at the 2019 Smart City Awards by the Committee for Sydney. The awards celebrate projects and partnerships that address the fundamental challenges faced by cities, governments, industry and communities in Greater Sydney. The three partners were recognised for their collaboration on creating smart social spaces that improve the amenity and user experience of public open spaces, as well as helping to mitigate urban heat island effects at the micro level. The trio is one of the few teams to win both Round 1 and Round 2 grants from the Australian Government’s $50m Smart Cities and Suburbs Program. The Round 1 project, Smart Social Spaces, investigated how smart furniture can be …

  • 21 oct 2019
read more