douglas coupland: v pole
douglas coupland: v pole douglas coupland: v pole
may 16, 2012

douglas coupland: v pole

‘v-pole’ by douglas coupland, vancouver, canada image © martin tessler + mathew bulford

vancouver writer and artist douglas coupland, has developed ‘v-pole‘ (‘v’ for vancouver) a proposal for future complex urban utilities such as wi-fi and wireless data traffic, on show at the new cities summit in paris, france. the unit is a slim, modular utility pole connected to underground optical wiring. in a simple lego-like manner, it can be installed in public settings and provide neighborhoods with access to the internet.  LED street lighting, electric vehicle charging, parking transactions can act as an electronic neighborhood bulletin board. it 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.‘the wireless data game has changed, data transmission is no longer something scary you don’t want in your back yard. now you want it directly in front of your house.’ – douglas coupland

coupland began investigating ways of creating open source wireless over a year ago and encountered a technology called the lightRadio™ while doing research for a book at bell labs in new jersey. a reduced-wattage device the size and shape of a rubik’s cube inside the ‘v‑pole’ eliminates the need for huge outdated boxes filled with wires and switching equipment. coupland was joined by vancouver mayor gregor robertson during the announcement.

‘it’s a remarkable coincidence that just as I was looking for an enabling technology, the lightRadio™ dropped in my lap,’ – douglas coupland

‘vancouver is a leader in urban innovation and we are always looking at ways to stay on the sharpest edge of technology, and is an example of future-driven design for cities that we are excited to see.‘ –  mayor gregor robertson

image © martin tessler + mathew bulford

coupland forecasts that in the future people will think of computing merely as a utility, like a plug in the wall. information will no longer require huge

mainframe systems, hard drives or products that come in boxes.

‘the city of vancouver is signaling its belief that the future is about smart, open-source technology. this is an inevitable technology and a massive entrepreneurial opportunity. urbanites want what the ‘v‑pole’ provides. now is the time for partnerships and alliances to begin. you would never think of building a house or office tower without electricity — in the same way, you would never think of developing future cities without ‘v-poles’.’  – douglas coupland

  image © mathew bulford

‘in three years there will be thirty times more wireless data traffic than there is now. unless we act quickly, our streets could be as cluttered as a kitchen junk drawer. no one wants that. the ‘v-pole’ will do vastly more using a smaller footprint, anticipating the increasing utility needs of cities. it also provides a visually-compelling template reflecting the distinct character of neighbourhoods.’ – douglas coupland

‘enabling new generation communications, data and zero emission transportation is a key goal for vancouver. an idea like the ‘v-pole’ will drive the pace of innovation and spark creative partnerships between cities and utilities. integrating smart technologies in street poles can make cities more efficient while delivering better services to citizens.’ – mayor gregor robertson

‘I’m not interested in this as a personal business venture. I’m presenting this only to get people thinking about the future. the ‘v-pole’ is a whole new way of approaching how we develop and democratize what can only be described as an inevitable force that’s headed towards us like an asteroid at full speed. and we can turn it into art.’ – douglas coupland

image © douglas coupland  

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions’  feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here

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