Vancouver's city planners are taking a page from the imagination of one of the city's most celebrated writers. Douglas Coupland's V-Poles are conceptual multipurpose poles of 12 feet or higher, that are equipped to bolster cellular and wi-fi infrastructure, power electric cars wirelessly, process parking transactions and display information via an LED display. The V-Pole (V standing for Vancouver) is an efficient solution to urban utility clutter, and, according to Mayor Gregor Robertson will enable “new generation communications, data and zero emission transportation.”
Coupland hopes that these multipurpose poles will eventually replace inefficient old infrastructure, reducing the need for multiple utility poles cluttering neighbourhoods. The poles will also be a statement attesting to Vancouver's readiness to transition from fossil fuel automobiles to efficient electric vehicles.
The technology for these does not yet exist, however, the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation has approved a Telus proposal to build three monopoles in the West End. A monopole is similar in concept to Coupland's V-Pole. They are integrate wireless improvements with electric car charging, but lack the wifi, parking and signage features of the full V-pole. Coupland himself seems a little bit disappointed by the monopoles, likening them to giant lint rollers over his twitter. Vancouver city council has passed a motion to seek out pilot projects to develop full V-poles, so we can hope to see the full technology in the next few years.
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