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Street furniture comes alive in Bristol thanks to £30,000 award

Lamp posts, such as this one in Clifton, will soon be interacting with the public

Lamp posts, such as this one in Clifton, will soon be interacting with the public

Press release issued: 21 January 2013

Lamp posts, bus stops and post boxes will soon play an even more important role in how Bristol operates thanks to a new award which will change the way people interact with the city.

The Watershed has announced Hello Lamp Post! as the winner of Bristol’s first ever Playable City Award, which attracted 93 entries from around the world.

The new art and technology project invites audiences to tune in to the secret conversations of the city and communicate through lamp posts, bus stops, post boxes and other street furniture this summer. Part game, part story, anyone can play by texting in a unique code found on the city’s familiar street objects. 

Playable City Award is supported by a network of organisations who exemplify Bristol’s strength in creative technologies, including the University of Bristol which acts as a partner and ambassador for the project.

David Alder, Director of Marketing and Communications at the University of Bristol, said: “The judges' job was incredibly difficult given the standard of entries. Hello Lamp Post! is hugely exciting and the University is pleased to support this fantastic initiative which supports Bristol's rightful place on the global cultural map."

Lamp posts, bus stops and post boxes are the goosebumps of the city and so ubiquitous that they have become invisible. The ‘smart city’ approach is to augment them with technologies like digital displays, but Hello Lamp Post! seeks instead to make them playable, using existing city infrastructure to make an open, hospitable and playful experience which encourages people to notice and interact with what is around them.

The project will utilise the codes that city councils and public servants use to tell one object from another when a light bulb needs changing or a bus stop is in need of repair. For the first time, city dwellers will be able to use these codes too in order to play a game and tell a story.

The £30,000 commission seeks to create an original, future-facing work, which uses creative technology to explore the theme of the playable city.

For further information, please see the Watershed website