Repurposing the Built Environment – A Major Theme at Meeting of the Minds 2012

By Dave Hahn

Dave Hahn is the Director of Communications for Meeting of the Minds. He leads the organization's online and offline communications strategy.

Oct 16, 2012 | Announcements | 0 comments

The major themes from last week’s Meeting of the Minds are beginning to emerge as speakers, attendees and press begin to parse through the abundance of insights and innovations presented at the event.

One of the major themes this year was the repurposing of the built environment, specifically telephone booths and light poles.

Fast Company’s Ariel Schwartz reported this week on a new project from City24x7 to retrofit old phone booths in New York City with 32-inch touch screens that display hyper-local transportation, event and business info.

From Fast Company’s website:

The screen, which I previewed at the recent Meeting of the Minds conference in San Francisco, looks familiar to anyone who uses a smartphone; it’s filled with buttons that look like apps–and in fact, many of the services are based on real apps and available online services (restaurant reviews come from Google Places’ Zagat information, transportation data comes from real-time transit app Roadify). The difference is that the information is tailored to your exact location and available in one place. “It’s highly integrated. You don’t need to go to the Roadify website–all channels of the city are local to where you are,” explains Jeff Frazier, director of global public sector practice at Cisco IBSG (Cisco is also involved in the SmartScreen project).

Read the full article here: Turning Old Phone Booths Into Digital Information Hubs

Another example of renewing the urban environment came during Mayor Gregor Robertson’s presentation, when he spoke about the installation of V-Poles in the city of Vancouver.

The V-Pole is a multipurpose light pole for modern urban living. From V-Pole.com:

The V-Pole (‘V’ for Vancouver) is a slim, modular utility pole connected to underground optical wiring. In a simple Lego-like manner, it can be installed in urban settings and provides neighborhoods with wi-fi and mobile wireless, LED street lighting, electric vehicle charging, parking transactions and can act as an electronic neighborhood bulletin board.

The V-Pole will be more energy-efficient and cost-effective than the current generation of utility structures found on city streets, and will reduce visual clutter along the streetscape.

What other themes emerged for you at Meeting of the Minds 2012?

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