How can we increase community connectivity, enable knowledge exchange and provide flexible spaces to meet, work and play? ChillOUT, a collaborative project with 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 free places to sit, relax and connect outdoors. 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 user numbers, the microclimate and utilities. The urban heat island effect will be measured and mitigated through greenery, shade and cooling pavement paint. Three hubs are currently being installed in southwest Sydney – in a town centre, busy streetscape and green suburban park. The official opening is scheduled to take place early next year.
Developed by UNSW, the Smart Asset Management (SAM) Dashboard is the front end of an Internet of Things (IoT) network of sensors embedded in the ChillOUT Hubs. It will provide a way to monitor and manage urban assets and facilities. The user-friendly dashboard enables multiple urban data sources to be viewed on a centralised platform.
SAM Dashboard will be used to analyse the performance of the ChillOUT hubs.
Human-centred design methodologies were used to deeply understand the user needs and aspirations of each of the three sites.
Town Centre: Macquarie Place, Mortdale
Locals come to do their shopping and errands. Older users may sit on a bench and converse for hours. An opportunity became apparent to provide a central hub for the community to meet, dine and take a break. This site will be solar powered.
An artist’s impression of the Mortdale Town Centre ChillOUT Hub. Image: CM+
Streetscape: Belgrave Street, Kogarah
A busy thoroughfare. Many workers, patients and visitors pass by each day, walking to and from the hospital, library and train station. The current plaza features hard surfaces and lacks shade. This hub will be an oasis for the community to stop on the way, have lunch and collaborate on projects. It aims to provide respite.
An artist’s impression of the Kogarah ChillOUT Hub. Image: CM+
Suburban Park: Timothy Reserve, Hurstville
Features an enclosed playground for families, shaded areas for group exercise, settings for picnics and afterschool study. The project team saw opportunities to provide seating for parents to look out over the playground while charging their phone, places for birthday parties, and to plug in a boom box for social dancing.
This ChillOUT Hub will be a joyful place for seniors, parents and children to meet and play. It aims to enhance an already successful public place.
An artist’s impression of the Timothy Reserve ChillOUT Hub. Image: CM+
Find out more about this project initiative by clicking the links below.