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Technology & Innovation

Hello, Street Bench. What’s Up?

This summer, people in one British city will be able to interact with seemingly-inanimate infrastructure — mailboxes, streetlamps, etc. — via text messaging.

What’s the Latest Development?

This summer, residents and visitors in Bristol, a city in southwest England, can get to know some of the objects that make up the city infrastructure — drains, mailboxes, and the like — by texting the word “hello” followed by that object’s unique code, which will be prominently displayed, to a designated number. The object will then text back with a question, which could be anything: “Will it be pleased to see you? Irritated at having been left in the rain? Or will it tell you a secret? The more you play, the more the hidden life of the city will be revealed.”

What’s the Big Idea?

The project, Hello Lamp Post, was created by UK-based PAN Studios and is the winner of Bristol’s Playable City Award, which invited competitors to use city objects “to make an open, hospitable, and playful experience which encourages you to notice and interact with what is around you.” According to an announcement on, the project beat out over 90 others from around the world for, as one judge put it, “the way it challenged the prevalence of mass-entertainment and spectacle, revealing an invisible ‘soft city’ – the exchanges and incidents that create a city’s social fabric.”

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Read it at FastCompany/Co.Exist


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