Advancing Technology for Smart Parks of the Future

Advancing Technology for Smart Parks of the Future

Posted on

Tue, 08/08/2017 - 4:22pm
Photo credit: KOMPAN Inc.

Public parks can help users escape from screens and gadgets, but technology can also now help parks better serve diverse groups of users. Imagine playgrounds that are digitally interactive learning spaces, colorful walking tiles that produce energy for lighting, and apps that help users plan their visits with real-time parking, air quality and temperature updates. 

Researchers at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and the Luskin Center for Innovation are developing a Smart Parks toolkit to identify ways that parks can employ digital and clean technologies as well as advanced materials to enhance the services, operations, and management of new and existing parks. The goal of the toolkit is to present park managers, designers, and advocates with ideas on how new technologies could be utilized in parks and the likely benefits from their adoption.

The toolkit is divided into chapters that focus on different park components, such as hardscapes, landscapes, and activity spaces. In each chapter, the authors present a range of technologies and discuss their benefits, challenges associated with implementation, and examples of their use in the field. To evaluate the appropriateness of each technology, the Luskin Center researchers identified a set of value criteria: community access, community integration, safety, health, water and energy efficiency, resilience, and operations and maintenance. Each technology featured in the toolkit receives a rating for the value criteria, which can then be used by park managers to assess which technologies best fit their needs.

The Luskin Center plans to release the toolkit in early 2018. The toolkit will be available for free download on the Luskin Center’s website. This project is supported by a generous grant from The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation. 

 

Public parks can help users escape from screens and gadgets, but technology can also now help parks better serve diverse groups of users. Imagine playgrounds that are digitally interactive learning spaces, colorful walking tiles that produce energy for lighting, and apps that help users plan their visits with real-time parking, air quality and temperature updates. 

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Photo credit: KOMPAN Inc.