Streetlamps, cell phone towers and parking meters lend a certain urban charm, but these unnatural forms can also get a little clunky, especially as they grow in number.
To get rid of the clutter, the city of Vancouver is planning new all-purpose utility towers that will provide WiFi, cell phone service, parking, car charging and more — all wrapped up in a Candy Land-like stripey pole.
They’re called V-Poles, for Vancouver, and they’re the brainchild of Canadian novelist Douglas Coupland. He conceived the idea after he stumbled upon something called the lightRadio, developed by Bell Labs and Alcatel-Lucent, which compresses a cell phone tower’s circuit boards and cables into a tiny cube.
The devices can be stacked up inside a tower like Legos, according to Coupland. It can serve multiple frequencies and standards, i.e. 2G, 3G or LTE, and it can work anywhere there’s a power supply and a broadband connection. Just add other services, and you’ve got a complete information and energy ecosystem on one tree.
From bottom to top, it would include an inductive coil charging pad for electric vehicles; stacked telecom boxes for various providers; a WiFi transmitter; and an LED streetlamp The poles could even power a neighborhood bulletin board.
Coupland’s idea also includes a wide array of color schemes from which neighborhoods could choose, representing anything from a pileated woodpecker to the Vancouver Canucks.