Infrastructure makes up a complex and essential network to ensure that the city functions and to provide services for city residents.The Urban Lab management model enables pilot schemes and projects to be conducted which benefit city residents, addressing unresolved needs in keeping with the goals and priorities of Barcelona City Council. One such pilot project is the multifunctional post, housed in conventional lampposts, turning them into new micro spaces for services, minimising their visual impact and helping bridge the digital divide in Barcelona by guaranteeing coverage for everyone in the city.
To date, the multifunctional posts provide access to Barcelona Wi-Fi and house environmental sensors, although the capacity is there to include new communication technologies. The posts offer an electricity supply and a fibre optic connection for a series of ICT elements, rationalising the use of public space and improving energy efficiency by grouping services into shared infrastructure, namely lighting, electricity, Wi-Fi and energy performance monitoring.
Various ICT projects have been trialled using the posts, the first being GrowSmarter, from which the creation of the post itself originates. The post was designed in its current format and was used as a case study for air quality on an urban scale in the city of Barcelona.
Plans are currently underway to use the model for the European project FLAME, representing another step forward by putting a server inside the posts or inside street cabinets to carry out multimedia experiments over much shorter time periods.
Similarly, the 5GCity project will allow the roll-out of micro stations for the new 5G telephone network to come. This will include the servers tested as part of the FLAME project, the idea being to cut the number of antennae in the city of Barcelona and study the creation of a neutral public operator, which would provide services according to citizens’ needs.