Three brilliant ideas for giving aging urban streetscapes a modern facelift

12.03.14 Washingtonimrs Post
As part of a broader vision to make cities smart, connected and environmentally sustainable, innovators are working on creative ideas to update the urban streetscape — think trashcans, street lamps, bicycle counters, bus stops and parking garages – for today’s digital lifestyle…
1. New York City’s WiFi pillars
The Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation has partnered with a consortium of tech companies known as CityBridge to radically transform the city’s streetscape. By the end of 2015, CityBridge plans to replace the city’s outdated public pay phones with 400 super-thin Wi-Fi “Links” capable of delivering Gigabit Wi-Fi speeds to New Yorkers…
2. Boston’s device-charging park benches
In a first-of-its-kind rollout, Boston is now experimenting with a new form of mobile experience: a dozen solar-powered park benches placed in select parks, playgrounds and sports fields throughout the city. By converting this solar power into electricity, these “Soofas” offer charging capabilities for multiple digital device owners, making them a social experience for mobile users as much as a technological experience….
3. Singapore’s supertrees and Israel’s eTrees
In Singapore, the vision for the city of tomorrow extends beyond just physical objects found on urban streets. Singapore has been experimenting with innovative ways to update the look and feel of the city that fully integrates technology with the surrounding natural environment. In June 2012, for example, the city launched its “supertrees” – a set of 18 man-made, 164-foot-high trees that are capable of absorbing and dispersing heat, collecting rainwater and generating solar power…..

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