Innovating the urban furniture
Urban furniture is the set of objects and pieces of equipment installed on public roads for several purposes. This set includes benches, litter bins, traffic barriers, mailboxes, bollards, tiles, pavers, public transport stops (where we can find marquees and totems) and telephone booths, among others.
Urban furniture identifies the city, becomes defined as a constituent part of the DNA of the identity of the same. Therefore it is vital that the urban furniture design respond and keep up with the space, colorful and uses that society demands. Let’s look at recent advances in design of urban furniture.
New materials. Corten steel, material with auto-regenerable capacity
The Novatilu brand has a line of products made with this handy material. Corten steel is a «living» material that offers great aesthetics and excellent resistance to adverse weather conditions properties due to their surface oxide layer. It is a self-healing material. Any blow, any scratched on the surface that could damage the protective surface is repaired naturally. In addition, past 12/18 months Corten no longer generates oxide so once cleaned metal surface, this leaves from fouling.
Using this material as a base and adding autoclaved wood, Novatilu has designed the product Tor line. A full range of urban furniture that includes a very geometric and architectural bank, bollards and various types of litter bins.
More functional litter bins
There are a wide range of models of litter bins. It is an element of urban furniture that we usually do not look too. But the truth is that it is a sector in which there is still much to innovate. Here are two examples:
- Litter bins which are emptied automatically. Envac Iberia in Barcelona has started a pilot system that automatically emptied bins and ensures perfect condition to be used at all times by users. This new part of Barcelona’s urban furniture is an innovation developed from the pneumatic system of garbage collection, which uses underground networks of pipes to transport the waste to a central collection, and is emerging as an optimal solution for emptying litter bins overflowing beaches and urban areas with high tourist influx.
- Smart litter bins for the collection of dog excrement. The project, called Guadacan, involves the installation of smart litter bins for the collection of dog excrement in the city of Guadalajara with the intention of promoting the use of BINDOGS system, a tool specially designed for efficient waste management. The BINDOGS system developed by Contenur and Ferrovial, consists of a network of intelligent litter bins intended for the collection of dog excrement that through an electronic lock, user card and GPRS technology allows the use of it. Associated with this system, there is software that manages the entire system of data collection and bonuses for its use.
Organic design urban furniture
Designed by Mireya Duart for the Spanish brand Saura SL, the Activity Center is innovative and creative urban furniture composed of several modular elements, intended for different uses and activities related to relaxation, rest, read, play or simply as a meeting point.
It is made up seats and window boxes placed at different heights to achieve different environments and be able to perform various activities at the same time. Its design is conceived in organic, free and laid way.
Mobile phone chargers for urban space
In some cities we can charge the mobile thanks to this innovative element of urban furniture that works with solar energy. Ideal for installation in parks, squares, beaches, terraces of restaurants and school or university areas. Here are two examples:
- Happyludic. Happyludic usb charger is a mobile device that operates completely autonomously thanks to solar energy. It is equipped with a solar panel, a battery, four standard USB inputs and an umbrella to protect the entire structure.
- USBE Smart Charger. We can already find them in Madrid, Madrid Rio. Its operation is similar to Happyludic, but they also incorporate a table and seats in order to make more comfortable waiting time recharging. The central mast is stainless steel and is topped by a polycarbonate disc where you can screen print a logo, an institutional message.
Sustainable and smart parking meters
Madrid was the first city in the world to apply the concept of sustainability in the system of regulation of surface parking by the new operating system smart SER and three models of parking meters.
The new SER has introduced pollutant emissions from vehicles and the load factor of the different areas as the two environmental criteria which, added to the existing ones, serve to calculate the rate of surface parking. «For the first time in a city, vehicles with lower emissions of nitrogen oxides will be subsidized at the rate and in consistency, be penalized with higher to the most polluting vehicles rate, according to the environmental principle of ‘the polluter pays ‘».
Similarly, it will be cheaper to park in a neighborhood with more space available for parking, while you’ll pay more who choose to leave their vehicle in a place saturated.
The new parking meters are equipped with a full alphanumeric keyboard for ease of use to drivers. After entering the vehicle registration as a first step to perform the operation, a screen will guide you and the steps you must follow to obtain the ticket.
Parking meters communicate in each operation with the integrated platform developed. Such communication will allow obtaining data for each car, he classified according to their emissions (depending on technology) and occupation of the corresponding quarter.
The innovations also applies when paying the rate, at which point you can choose between payment in cash, credit card or debit card, prepaid card or contact via mobile phone. A significant novelty for those who choose the cash payment option is that if you do not have the exact amount, the surplus «will accumulate in a virtual wallet balance or they can use in the next step.» feasible option because vehicles will be identified through their enrollment, which is assigned the balance.