The world’s first “sustainable smart street” – where visitor’s footsteps are used to generate electricity; the wall paint purifies the air; and a bench, which sucks nitrogen dioxide from the air to purify it, provides those in need of a seat with clean air – has opened up in London’s West End.
Bird Street features a range of pioneering pop-ups, from independent fashion and lifestyle brands to ethical homeware stores.
It is also home to some innovative technologies that are enabling people to become aware of sustainability through an immersive and interactive experience, which is designed to be “fun”.
Bird Street is quite literally “a breath of fresh air” just streets away from London’s busy shopping metropolis, Oxford Street – a densely populated and polluted area.
Pavegen installed a 107-square-foot pavement, featuring black triangular tiles, which generates around 5 watts of continuous power per footstep. The bespoke pavement absorbs the energy either to store it in a lithium polymer battery, or instantly supplies it to power streetlights at night. In the daytime, the energy is used to power bird sounds which play as visitors walk.
Laurence Kemball-Cook, founder and CEO of Pavegen, believes that cities need to become “smarter, more sustainable built environments”.
“Cities need to be smart to have seamless mobility, great communications and off-grid power, but you’ve got to make it exciting and engaging for people,” Laurence Kemball-Cook says. “From climate change to rapidly expanding cities, we face complex environmental and social challenges. Our [Pavegen’s] technology enables people to directly engage with clean energy, to increase their understanding of sustainability issues, and to connect purposefully with brands.”
Walk along the former under-used side street, Bird Street, close to Selfridges department store, and you will find pop-up stalls touched with special tech-savvy paint, which purifies the air from NOx gases and bacteria.
Those in need of a seat can take a pew on Bird Street on the wooden seated and panelled, CleanAir Bench, which creates a clean air bubble around users by taking polluted air from behind, removing harmful gases and particles and emitting clean air through the sides and armrests.
The initiative, which is supported by Transport for London’s Future Streets incubator scheme, could be brought to other areas of London.
Rosalind Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She is a writer who specialises in sustainable lifestyle and living, wellbeing, music and arts. Rosalind also works as a counsellor, intuitive reader and spiritual life coach helping people to become who they truly are and manifest their heart & soul’s desires into their lives: www.rosalindmedea.com