Carlton’s new smart bench: a bright example of data-led designs

Kaylah Joelle Baker

A new, quirky, bright green “smart bench” on a Carlton median strip is taking street infrastructure to a new level.

Situated at 313 Drummond St, the street bench has been designed with sensors that help collect data on how much it has been used, and the results have been dramatically higher than Melbourne’s older metal benches.

Since February 1, the new green design has been used 3872 times, according to the recent City of Melbourne data, while the existing metal bench on the median strip has only been used 666 times. This means that while the existing bench has been used, on average, eight times a day, the new design has an average daily use of 43.

While only a pilot program, Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the past couple of months had proven that “data-led design works”.

“We’ve set a new benchmark for street furniture in Melbourne,” Cr Capp said.


Good design can really increase the way community infrastructure is used – especially for a bustling area like Carlton.


The quirky design has also encouraged the council to continue to work with industry leaders, to create more social spaces for the community.

“We’re already applying what we’ve learned from this popular bench to other projects including the redevelopment of Grattan St and Fishermans Bend Gateway sites,” the council’s education and innovation portfolio lead Cr Davydd Griffiths said.

The smart bench is part of Participates Melbourne’s Reimagining the City Challenge. •


Photo credit: Liana Hardy

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