Payphone upgrade to a microclimate community portal
Eve Bartolo

Upgrading payphones to record their ambient environment and relay this data feed through a community dialogue

Superseded by mobile phones, the 16,000 payphones across Australia are becoming redundant but are still required by the Commonwealth Government until 2033. A nation-wide networked infrastructure of pubic payphones has the potential to communicate more than just public dialogue.

By upgrading each payphone with environmental sensors, the local air temperature, humidity, air quality, dust concentration and noise could be measured. The result would be an extremely detailed national climatic map.

As our climate changes, this data can help make decisions at all levels of government but especially at a community level. Local councils could access and use the data to improve their local neighbourhoods.

The payphones can then become a digital interface between the council and the community. This data works best delivered in the physical street space, where the person can feel the temperature and smell the air. Through an interactive display screen embedded into the payphone, results can be displayed to pedestrians in real-time. The data can be interpreted into messages of encouragement, or be compared with the data of other council areas. This could lead to uniting the entire Greater Sydney area to a common environmental goal.

It’s a portal for daily updates about our local microclimate. Through this real-time dialogue within high traffic areas, councils can have a physical presence and a live conversation with people. This will encourage small steps by relaying small improvements which in turn will raise community awareness and empower more action to create systemic change.

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