October 16th, 2018
In our weekly news filter ‘What We’re Clicking On’, we share our thoughts on the most interesting articles relating to the future of cities, buildings and interiors.
Pavegen is a start-up from London that has created a patented flooring technology which converts the kinetic energy from footsteps into off-grid power and data. As pedestrians walk across the Pavegen system, the weight from their footsteps creates a small vertical movement of 5 to 10mm in the top surface. This compresses the electromagnetic generators below, creating a rotary motion which produces 2 to 4 joules of electrical energy per step. This off-grid energy can be used to power environmental sensors, street lighting, and to collect and transmit data. The company has installed over 200 times with permanent sites in airports, corporate HQs, schools and shopping centres. Pavegen recently signed an agreement with Siemens to integrate Pavegen’s technology in international smart city projects. Pavegen is also looking into expanding its technology to bike lanes and architecture.
There are several other initiatives that focus on alternative use of pavements and streets, such as Google Sidewalk Labs and Umbrellium, a company that is experimenting with interactive pedestrian crossings.
Tiny house, large effect
The Guardian writes on how increasingly smaller living spaces could affect our health, with a focus on the UK housing market. In the UK the average new-build is the smallest in Europe (76m2). Houses become smaller to create more living spaces in one building (and increasingly offices). Several institutions published their views on standards and ideals for house sizes, but these got blurred through economic values that become increasingly important. Julia Park, head of housing research at architectural firm Levitt Bernstein, states small spaces could pose threats to physical health and mental health.
It is important for people to come home in a comfortable area where they feel safe and can relax. Instead, Park states, sleeping, cooking and washing are increasingly viewed as the only functions of a home. Housing size recommendations are optional and only apply to new projects, not to existing objects. This makes it possible for owners to turn their buildings into tiny apartments that do not fit the standards.
Read the full article here.
"A Citizen Science Revolution"
On October 25th, the documentary “A Citizen Science Revolution” premieres at De Waag in Amsterdam, a creative organization operating at the intersection of science, technology and the arts to create social change.
A Citizen Science Revolution is about a European project originating in 2016 in which groups of citizens in Barcelona, Pristina and Amsterdam started organizing themselves out of concern about their local environment. With the help of cheap sensors they started to map their surroundings to overcome challenges such as noise pollution, bad air quality and gamma radiation.
The programme includes an introduction and interview on (the future of) citizen science by Frank Kresin, Managing Director of DesignLab at Twente University.
(Image: Scene of “A Citizen Science Revolution”)