Hurstville gets the smarts – including talking rubbish bins

Get smart: Georges River Council mayor Kevin Greene with Dr Christian Tietz and Dr Nancy Marshall of the University of NSW, with Georgie the Dragon in Hurstville's Memorial Square at the launch of the Smart Social Spaces project.
Get smart: Georges River Council mayor Kevin Greene with Dr Christian Tietz and Dr Nancy Marshall of the University of NSW, with Georgie the Dragon in Hurstville's Memorial Square at the launch of the Smart Social Spaces project.

Hurstville will officially become one of the smartest suburbs in Australia.

Get ready for Smart Social Spaces units which people can recharge their phones, wash their hands or make a cup of tea; connected street furniture that tell the council when repairs are required; and talking garbage bins that will tell the council when they need to be emptied.

These will all be features of the new $658,000 Smart Cities Project, a joint initiative by the University of NSW and Georges River Council.

The project, which is being run by UNSW’s Built Environment Team, will look at how responsive technologies can be implemented in public spaces in the Georges River local government area.

These will be at Memorial Square, Hurstville and at Olds Park.

Georges River Council is one of a small number of NSW councils taking part in the project.

“The technology will allow us to keep these facilities in its best possible shape all day, everyday throughout the year,” mayor Kevin Greene said.

The project will see the installation of “smart street furniture” which will be equipped with sensors and be able to tell the council what is happening in the area including heat, noise, air quality and pedestrian traffic.

The project will have three aspects. It will collect data on the use and performance of public spaces. It will see the use of healthy living hardware. And it will develop with the council smart urban governance through the use of smart street furniture.

For example, the new smart rubbish bin which can tell the council when it is full, how hot it is and how many people are walking past it.

If some item catches fire in the bin it will be able to send a message to the council.

And it can be used by the council to make announcements in emergency situations.

The rubbish bins installed at Hurstville will be the first in Australia.

Dr Christian Tietz of the UNSW has developed the smart social spaces units that will be used in the project.

He said the units which will be set in public spaces will have powerpoints so people can charge their phones, tablets or other digital devices.

It will also allow them to bring other things to the park such as a kettle to make a cup of tea.

And they will be able to bring a fry pan to cook and the wash their hands afterwards.

“It is all about increasing the use and functionality of public spaces,” he said.

“It can show the council how many people are using a facility and can increase the amenity of public space and make it a nicer place to be.”

The Smart Cities Project will be trialled by the University of NSW and Georges River Council over the next 18 months.

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