Urban furniture: solutions for smart cities
By "urban furniture management", we mean the design sector that concerns the insertion, within the city scenario, of mobile or fixed furnishings aimed at the correct use of the common space. This is a very important aspect that embraces numerous issues including that of public lighting, equipment and the setting up of green areas. All the artifacts affixed to favor the correct flow of users are also part of this field, such as road signs and traffic bollards and pedestrian and car access.
This matter is governed by the Regulations for urban furniture and decor
, which every municipality must be equipped with. This urban planning tool will not only establish the provisions regarding the minimum distances to be respected and the position of the furniture, but will ensure the decorum and healthiness of the urban space. To date, the Italian legislation appears to be fragmented and each Region adopts specific provisions studied on the conformation of the territory, on the cultural characteristics and on social needs. Sometimes, there may also be differences at the municipal level. However, some rules are valid at the national level: these are the UNI standards relating to public lighting systems and seats inserted within collective spaces. Furthermore, the current legislation has undergone a partial revision, introducing particular measures with a view to environmental sustainability and energy efficiency.
Urban furniture is now considered a crucial issue in the debate on smart cities, smart cities that exploit technological progress to provide more efficient services to citizens. In this sense, road signs and furnishing components become an integral and interactive part of that process aimed at facilitating the connection between the user and the living spaces.
In fact, the open environment with its components must be conceived as a living and dynamic organism capable of molding itself on the ever-changing needs of its users.
CAM and street furniture
We have often heard about CAMs and how such minimal environmental criteria are increasingly needed in the design sector. In the specific case of street furniture, reference is made to the Ministerial Decree of 5 February 2015 which introduced the obligation to comply with specific requirements aimed at promoting healthiness and respect for the environment within the urban scenario. In fact, in favor of a circular economy that knows how to make good use of resources and is able to avoid unnecessary waste and pollution, it is forbidden to use materials and finishes that are toxic or that can damage the environment and personal safety.
Urban furniture and technological progress
With the introduction of the concept of "smart city", today urban scenarios take on particular importance and the artefacts that characterize them are designed to ensure a better quality of life for citizens. Thanks to technological innovation, in fact, street furniture helps to give a new face to cities and to restore the sense of belonging to the place where you live.
The concept behind integrated design is connectedness
. By optimizing the resources available, it is possible to provide services that allow citizens to feel safer, more informed and active in the development process of the urban environment. To give a practical example, video surveillance systems can now be integrated with street furniture and at the same time can communicate 24 hours a day with the relevant operations centers, able to intervene promptly in the event of particular dangerous situations. Even the numerous interactive displays present in many cities, in correspondence with high-flow arteries or collective spaces, are designed to inform and make the user aware of what happens in the streets and in the city squares.
Another aspect that affects the design of the public space and the artefacts that compose it, concerns lighting. Very often we see real urban gaps and areas that are little used by users; these are spaces that for aesthetic or safety reasons do not reach the potential they have and remain deserted. One of the first causes is precisely the light: in the absence of adequate brightness at night, there is the desertification of areas perceived as dangerous for one's own safety. Parks are a concrete example, very busy during the day and empty in the evening. To overcome this type of problem, for example, light devices equipped with presence sensors are used, capable of adjusting the light intensity according to the number of users encountered. The motto "the more we are, the more we illuminate" makes it clear the idea of also promoting socialization and attendance in public areas that could be used for events and exhibitions in the summer. This solution also guarantees considerable savings in energy and consequently economic terms.
Example of how the correct lighting of the parks favors their attendance in the evening - Miller Park, Tennessee - USA
To view the drawings of the street lamps category for public lighting click here
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