40 Smart City Designs That Help Make Any Urban Jungle Feel More Comfortable

By Olajide O

Urban life can sometimes be stressful due to demanding nine to five jobs or trying to run a business, for example. People may get caught up with strict deadlines to complete assignments and sales targets. One of the significant challenges researchers have considered when studying the urban space is how unaccommodating it is, whether we’re talking about transportation, sustainable energy, or simply enjoying urban life to the best of our ability. Hence, the administrative team of a few cities worldwide has committed to making it easier to travel and enjoy the city. They do this by embarking on collaborative projects such as installing furniture with built-in chargers for public use, artwork, and gym equipment. These additional pleasures provide a sense of relief to the citizens and feelings of awe for the outsiders who come to visit. Take a look at some of these city conveniences that help make urban life much more enjoyable.

Need a map?

Many people who live in cities tend to miss their buses or don’t exactly know where they are going. If you miss your bus or maybe get off where you are not supposed to, this handy screen will display the amount of time you will have to wait for another bus.

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It also has a map that helps newcomers find their way around the city. It offers the shortest route suggestions, and its shade provides protection from the harsh sun. Another perk to this station is that it provides a charging spot and strong WiFi connectivity.

Cute photo-op

Everyone loves to relax in nature, and the beach is one of the first places that comes to mind. Many people love to pass the time here with the salty air blowing against their skin. However, some people may have a hard time spending a lot of time there for one specific reason…

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They can never find enough shade from the sun. However, this big green hat that you see here will make all your worries go away. It can cover two people at once. Be sure to take a cool picture of yourself relaxing under the unique, flower-like hat.

Break a sweat outdoors

Imagine you just moved into a community where the central park has been turned into a literal gym. There are several pieces of gym equipment that will accommodate you, such as plyometric boxes, stationary bikes, ellipticals, and pull-up bars.

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It seems like the perfect community project that people would love to be a part of. And you would not be alone in breaking a sweat as other active people in the community would love to join you. You get to share some of your positive vibes as well as shed some calories.

Dry in a jiffy

You have to applaud the kind of creativity that goes into executing such convenience as this. It might not look all that impressive, but it will definitely come in handy on a rainy day. Firstly, no one wants to sit on a wet bench after some rainfall.

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But, this bench has two sides and can be rotated to reveal the side that did not get wet from the rain. So, how do you turn it over? There is a white lever on either side of the bench. All you need to do is to turn it by giving the lever a twist, and it swiftly flips over.

All hands on deck

South Korea’s streets are often busy at all times. Usually, streets as bustling as this are not cleaned as often as they should be. However, in this Korean city, measures were put in place to ensure that there is the roads are properly cleaned on a daily basis.

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In the middle of the road are a helpful set of sprinklers that constantly wash the street. Also, vehicles with mud or any other debris on their wheels are more or less cleaned as a result of these strong sprinklers.

Responsive street furniture

Amidst all the projects certain cities embarked on to make life more comfortable for their citizens, the city of London is no stranger to this. The London museum specially dedicated an exhibition to showcase beautiful street furniture prototypes for the public to see. The items on display would later serve the needs of the residents.

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The technology of this particular prototype enables it to detect how each user can use it. If a passerby with poor vision walks by the lamp, her mobile phone sets off a signal. The lamp’s intensity is intensified. It remains this way for as long as the individual can pass to the other side of the road.

For the young at heart

We all have to be working members of society at some point in our lives, but many of us are still kids at heart, and this city knows it. That is why they took the liberty to install a simple and fun swing at the bus stop.

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Regardless of how your day has gone, you can simply sit back comfortably and swing as high as much as you want. It will cheer you up from a long day at work in no time—what a fun way to blow off some steam.

No more knocking

This design will be of delight to people who have always had an issue with using public restrooms. We all need that privacy while we try to do our business. Could there be a way in which we can notify people that we are in the stall without being disturbed?

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Yes! This public restroom has its own hanging lights that help notify others if someone is present in a stall. You don’t have to say a thing or respond to anybody. The red light will inform them that someone is in there.

Eyes on the road

How do you get your citizens to go out more? You need to make the city both beautiful and accessible. This city mayor thought of something creative when he helped install this lovely glow-in-the-dark pattern to light up the sidewalk.

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You can stroll out with your family or partner on the pretty path. We find it breathtaking, and it could totally brighten up anyone’s day just from marveling at its beauty. This would make us want to take a walk every night!

Robo hero

We applaud the heroic work that our physicians perform daily. These heroes in white jackets sure have the most challenging jobs in the world. We understand the intricacies of their careers to assess patients, administer medicine, and treat illnesses.

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To make their work a bit easier, a Panasonic autonomous robot is deployed in this hospital to cater to the staff’s needs. It can carry medicine and deliver it to where they need it without being accompanied by a human. They can also use it to store patient data.

Need a little help?

Riding a bicycle is healthy for you regardless of your age. It might be your saving grace for shedding some calories. You have to be dedicated to ride one to work every day, and in many cities across the world, people do.

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One demerit to this is that it is a slow means of transit, and it can take a long time to reach your destination, especially if you have to ride uphill. What if you could actually cut the commute in half via tram? Welcome to Stuttgart, where the local train will transport you and your bicycle to save you some time.

The tram bicycle lift

Norway is a carefree, healthy city where you will find that the most common means of transport is the use of bicycles. Much like the system put in place in Stuttgart, Trondheim, this major city created a way to save cyclers the stress of having to ride uphill.

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The Cyclocable platform was designed so that bicycle riders can simply place one foot on the platform while also leaning on their bikes as the platform does the rest. The platform can effectively propel five cyclists up the hill simultaneously.

Quick charge

This is a student-friendly spot in the city where students have the ability to charge up all their gadgets. You will find students plugging in their tablets, laptops, or mobile phones using the solar panel converter that was installed on top of the shade.

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The electrical system is solar-powered and can charge almost any gadget. Anyone who has a device that’s low on battery can charge it here. It is also a nice place to sit and have a chat with a close friend while you’re waiting for your phone.

Slide in the Mall

When our paycheck comes through, we all have that urge to go to the mall and treat ourselves. You could go by yourself or maybe with friends. But we bet you wouldn’t expect to see an installation like this upon entering!

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This mall in Prague has a built-in slide, which adds more fun to your shopping advntures. It means that while you ride the escalator with your trolley, your kids can slide down in no time. Now, we know you definitely want to come here when you get paid!

Who’s got talent?

The big, curated disc you see in the picture is designed to aid the sound of music and voices. A street musician can sing enjoy their time, making passersby smile with the clear sound of their music. This city definitely takes these artists seriously.

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Be careful what you say, though, as the disc is capable of broadcasting even the tiniest of whispers to the ears of the public. It is no place to chat with your friends, but more for music. Check out this excellent Living Innovation Zone in San Francisco and bring your music to life.

Soofa benches

The Soofa bench is an incredible piece of technology. You can find these intelligent benches at Danehy Park, Central Square, Harvard Square, and the Fresh Pond. It is a piece of luxury that might be otherwise unaffordable for individuals. But these cities made them available for public use.

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One of the things they offer aside from sitting comfortably is charging your mobile device using the solar-powered energy pack of the bench. The Soofa bench also helps keep the air around it clean. And, it can reportedly accumulate data in LA and Miami to deal with air and noise pollution.

Joy ride!

For avid readers, this is a joy ride indeed. Imagine if you can commute on a bus and enjoy a new book (that you didn’t purchase). We are not saying that you can read the entire book on such a trip, but at least a portion of a chapter will bring you joy.

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And you can read it all for free in the mini-libraries these buses provide in Hamburg city. Virtually every bus in the town has one, and we reckon that book worms can choose to sit on the bus through its entire route just to enjoy reading.

Hang around with friends

What do you do when you hang out with friends? We love to chill at our favorite cafe or even go see a movie. But all those activities require some kind of expense. Here, we present to you an alternative way to actually have a great time with friends without spending a dime.

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These safety nets were designed to make you comfortable, and you can lay back on them and enjoy the sun in the company of your friends. Try not to wear any shoes while sitting on the nets to avoid getting dirt on them.

Smart solar benches

The seats are well-positioned so that commuters can easily enjoy a little time relaxing. You might find several other benches with shade, but these solar benches need sunlight in order to make your life easier. Take advantage of the numerous USB ports on the bench to charge your devices.

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The glass top is made up of insulated solar panels that soak up the sun’s ultraviolet rays and charge up the powerpack of the solar bench. Charge your laptops and smartphones, and you can even charge your electric scooters and bicycles, too.

Public Dining spaces

When you are strolling down the street and see a beautiful setup such as this, it might trigger warm memories of your favorite coffee spot. But this is nothing like that; it’s a community project designed to help people relax.

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You can enjoy some time to yourself sitting on these benches. The local administration periodically replaces the wood panels, and the seats are repainted to keep everything in optimal condition. It really sums up how much they value the well-being of their residents.

Grow a bud

Natives of the Netherlands are familiar with this fantastic spot. These pods look like fruity orange buds growing with a metallic pole as a stem. They also seem ready to burst open into the most beautiful flowers you will ever see.

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However, when these buds open, you can take a comfortable seat for you to relax and wait for a bus. Or enjoy a moment of fresh air on your way back from work. What a creative way to provide citizens with a place to sit.

A quick game of ping pong

Nothing is as frustrating and tedious as the time you’d spend waiting at a traffic stop. You know, that nervous one minute you spend waiting for the traffic light to go from red to yellow and then green. Germany seems to have found a way to make that time enjoyable.

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It might be the only time you will enjoy having to wait. The government installed a game of street pong with this console. Simply tap it, and you get to choose from a myriad of arcade games, including pong. You can select pong and battle against another player on the other side of the street who is also waiting for the light to turn.

Burn those calories

We understand that losing weight can be challenging for most people, except for some avid fitness gurus. Scoot over, though; this one is for people like us. If you are particularly unmotivated to exercise, you can adopt this excellent design that ultimately helps you get over your worries about weight.

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The town folks opted to design these subway steps with calorie measurements to indicate that every step you take up and down the stairs is a unit of a calorie shed. Take the stairs when you are in a hurry to the office and burn off that breakfast muffin as well!

Bike Rentals

On your first visit to Melbourne, Australia, a surprise awaits you. You can easily rent a bike! The city offers numerous bike rental systems such as this one, and you can get some exercise in as you check out some of the city’s highlights.

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All you have to do is rent a bike from the dock. You can even drop off the bike at another port that may be far away from where you took the bike initially. There are tourist spots everywhere near these bike docks.

A bouquet of flowers

Israel’s intense, hot climate means they must get creative when it comes to shading urban areas. Hence, they designed a clever piece of architecture to provide shade for their citizens. These massive bouquets of flowers stand at an impressive 30 feet. They can even blow cool air on whoever sits or walks beneath them.

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The chutes that pop out of the ground from the base of the flower hold compressed clean air. The chute activates when it senses someone passing underneath. The buds then blossom and release cool air. At night, they make for a pretty sight since they light up.

Courtesy call

Car owners often deal with frustrating situations, like when another car owner takes the liberty of making a scratch or dent on the side of the door. This may be hard to prevent, which is why one city installed these soft barriers in their parking garages to prevent this from happening.

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Managers of parking lots also save themselves the trouble of settling disputes because car owners have no excuses. The barrier also functions as a guide for drivers who are probably just learning to park. We think these should be installed in every parking garage.

Minimizing carbon footprint

France welcomes thousands of visitors annually. With every new visitor, though, more pollution is inevitable. To improve their environment, they have designed particular solar trees in their local parks that offer shade to their citizens. The sun charges them, and people can lounge underneath them while charging their devices.

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It has a fountain where people can also fill their water bottles. The cooling system is powered by the electricity generated by solar energy. Some of the trees can provide illumination at night, and you will often find people hanging around them at night.

Got our papers ready

As a job seeker, the pay is always something to consider. There are also employee benefits and office environment to take into account. Looking at this company’s design, it is not hard to guess why it appeals to more than one hundred job seekers daily. Why not?

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Wayfair Canada is a technology company looking to hire engineers numbering up to a thousand in a year. They sure have some design specialists already on their plate from the looks of their state-of-the-art furniture design. We can see why people would want to come to work here.

Up for a little bit of yoga

You may not fully understand how good it feels for commuters to rest their feet after a long day at work. Usually, you’d expect the local government authority to set up public seats that commuters can sit on momentarily while waiting for the light to turn green.

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The administration in this city decided to turn in a different direction. You can see people sitting comfortably on these hammocks that are purely designed for the public to rest. Don’t hesitate to step out of your footwear, put your legs up, and relax in the hammock.

Parked in a jiffy

This is parking made easy. You might have put in an all-nighter to study for that tough test. But when you can finally take a short nap, you wake up to realize that you are almost late for your test! You leap in your car in a hurry to campus, but then you can’t seem to find a parking space.

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Imagine a car had just left an empty space, but by the time you came around, someone had already snagged it. It can be painful, but what if you had a parking lot like this? You can quickly identify spaces and wait for the drivers to get out and park your car in an empty diagonal space.

Let’s go to Enfield Town

The residents of the community of Enfield know how much the town takes collaborative, urban space projects seriously, and this is one of the most outstanding ones. The joint effort enables the average resident to submit a viable design for the town’s plaza. The goal is to make the city comfortable for everyone.

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The city is a pretty exciting place with lots of things to do, but it can be a bit noisy. The town square is the place you go to enjoy some time away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The Fountain Island has seen a lot of suggestions, and more ideas are on the way to make it even better.

Interactive art

San Francisco is a great place to be for several reasons. Shall we talk about the beautiful Alamo square or the Golden Gate Bridge that you are probably already familiar with? Be sure not to miss out on this incredible piece of art next time you’re there.

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It is referred to as “interactive art” because you can interact with it. Commonly known as “MeetWalls,” you can easily get caught up with exciting individuals standing at the other side of the wall. Feel free to introduce yourself and maybe make some new friends.

Watch this disappearing act

Magic was one of our all-time favorite things to see when we were kids. Whether it was playing cards or finding a rabbit in your hat, it was always so exciting. Even adults can trigger their inner child in this public space and pull off a disappearing act.

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You can make this dining table appear out of the ground by operating the lever on the brick wall nearby. Voila! This beautiful set of tables and chairs will surface. Here you can chill with your friends or play a game while the table is in the ground.

More charging outlets

People love free things, and most companies are aware of that fact. Hence, they know best to grab their attention by offering free services. AT&T goes ahead of its competition by installing these charging stations powered by solar energy at strategic places such as pedestrian crossings and schools.

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While charging your phone, you can also use the free WiFi provided by the company. You never have to worry about dealing with a dead phone if you spend a little time here juicing up your device. Be sure to check out this stand next time you are in a busy city.

IBM’s smart ideas

Aside from their wide use for advertisement, IBM billboards offer more flexible and revolutionary ideas than standard ones to make smarter cities. This particular billboard can conveniently serve as a shade from the harsh sunshine. We think the administrative arms of some cities can take a cue from this brilliant idea.

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The goal of IBM extends further into getting people to come up with bright ideas on how to make life a lot more convenient for residents. They entertain creative ideas from people, and if your idea is accepted, they may install them in your city as well.

Zebra crossing

How do you get drivers and people to pay more attention to a zebra crossing? Make it catchier. The administration of Nanjing has done one better by installing an intelligent form of the zebra crossing. It produces bright flashing lights to notify drivers whenever pedestrians walk across the road.

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Maybe it works better in the dead of night; you do not have to be wary of crossing the road anymore. If you love texting and walking, you can do so even more securely, albeit while taking furtive glances at the lights. The lights are sensitive to the surrounding environment, and thus, they may be brighter at night.

Street Music

We all love some form of music for personal reasons. Music can soothe your mind, and thinking about this, JCDecaux opted to upgrade an ordinary bus shelter into a music booth. Check-in and access your favorite music playlist and let it blast out through the speakers.

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Who knows? You might even find other people who share your taste in music, and you get to mime your favorite songs. You can also listen to other people’s preferred music playlists. More than a million people have become acquainted with this shelter via their love of music. Commuting has never felt any better than this.

Summer sunbathing

We think this is an interesting idea to add to any home. Check out this fold-out balcony that acts more like a tiny porch but is attached to the roof. You can enjoy the fresh air at the very top of your house with this neat structure.

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You can also take advantage of the summer sunshine here if you want to catch a tan. Pull up the window panes, and you will have something like an attic window offering you a pleasant view of the night sky.

Easy recall

The design aims to help drivers get out of trouble that may arise from something as flimsy as forgetting their parking spot. It can happen to anybody, especially if they have a lot going through their minds. The park management came up with this great solution by painting each level’s number on the door of elevators.

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It is tough to forget where your car is packed with this design. You don’t even need to ask the security for directions. Simply wait a few seconds, and the signs should help you find your way back to your car. It pays to be a little mindful of the characters to remember.

Get the rave going

This city offers incredible nightlife, and the environment feels different as soon as the sun sets. From that point on, you can hear the sound of music filtering out of the nightclubs and the sound of joy coming from the famous bars and entertainment hubs.

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No matter how dark it is, you can trust these beautiful street lights to guide you home safely. The lamps are solar-powered, and the sunlight charges them during the day. They automatically come on at night to provide light for the residents.

Eco town

The most prominent companies in the world are going green with eco-friendly products. Toyota is one of the biggest brand names in the automobile industry. They are now one of the leading companies making a push for electric vehicles, and they have made a great example of it by establishing an Ecoful town.

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In this region, you will find many electric vehicles and bicycles in the city. You can use these options to move to the nearest public transport or even charge your scooter or e-bike. You can power your automobiles using a solar-powered charging outlet. You can also access more than 20 charging stations with bicycles and EVs ready to go.