The Bundesgartenschau, known locally as BUGA, is a biennial Federal Horticultural Show that started in 1951 as an exercise in park and urban planning to reinvigorate cities. They proved highly popular as they serve as a driver for towns and cities to revitalise areas and leave a lasting legacy. The event takes place in a different city each time and in 2019, the city of Heilbronn took up the challenge with the motto ‘Blooming Life’.
This city, on the banks of the Neckar River, invests considerably in its urban development and educational future. It decided to harness the dynamic of the BUGA to develop a residential district that places people’s needs at its heart.
Framed by a powerful setting of riverbanks and industrial buildings, the city transformed the Neckarbogen district, a 40-hectare former industrial wasteland into a new 21st century urban area with high-quality amenities within walking distance of the city centre.
Sustainability in urban renewal
It was the first BUGA to have residents. More than 800 people already live in the buildings that include a playschool and bakery. They were built using sustainable and resource-conserving methods. Just over 50% are rentals, with a high proportion of subsided housing. The lakes in the parks are used for water management in the quarter and for the irrigation of the one million flower bulbs that were planted, along with thousands of shrubs, trees and other plants.
The embankment along the Neckar has been comprehensively rebuilt and new promenades created to provide traffic-free corridors for leisurely strolls.
Smart lighting to foster healthier living
It is essential that residents feel safe to take advantage of the scenic landscape throughout the year, even on long winter nights for a healthy lifestyle. For the city, a smart sustainable lighting solution was obvious. Energy-efficient luminaires help combat climate change as well as increasing energy demands and thus rising costs.
Smart lighting would also deliver light when and where it is needed, eliminating light pollution to protect the local plants and animals, especially the insects as well as preventing light trespass on neighboring buildings
Sustainable lighting isn’t just about energy consumption. It also means protecting our insects and creating a sense of safety for citizens and visitors.
For the city, the lighting solution also had to seamlessly integrate the landscape, bringing a elegant touch both by day and by night.
Light only where and when it matters
The city opted for the Shuffle column controlled by Owlet IoT. This highly aesthetic column reflects the modern identity of this forward-looking district while its modular concept enables the city to incorporate the necessary technology to meet all of their needs today and in the future.
The Shuffle perfectly controls the light distribution to only light the areas where it is needed. It delivers a quality, glare-free lighting with a high level of visual comfort to enable residents and visitors to go about their everyday activities. During the night, the lack of light trespass ensures a good night’s sleep for residents and preserves the biodiversity and habitats of the local wildlife.
Owlet IoT adapts the light when the area is not being used so that the city saves energy while ensuring a safe and secure environment.
The smart lighting system enables the city to continuously monitor the lighting installation and energy consumption so that they can adapt the lighting levels as efficiently as possible taking into account local needs or events taking place. This was particularly important during the BUGA, when thousands of visitors gathered every night to watch the spectacular light and sound show by the Karl lake. Equally, it automatically detects defective lamps so repairs can be carried out quickly to guarantee safety.
A connected environment
To make the urban experience even more enjoyable for both tourists and residents, free WiFi was a pre-requisite for the city. Residents and tourists want to be able to connect easily and for free, wherever they are. As they access more data, more often, the “always on” lifestyle requires a constant shroud of Wi-Fi coverage.
Furthermore, some of the city’s future services and applications will need coverage so it was critical that the wireless network would be robust enough to handle huge amounts of data for critical tasks on the one hand or many small bursts of bits-and-bytes of data on the other.
The Shuffle provides a flexible and scaled solution to help meet the different needs.
We have WLAN over the entire BUGA site, and not only in hotspots - we have been able to put fibre optic connections in the lighting points. That really means uninterrupted broadband power, which we were able to use to provide a charging infrastructure for the Red Cross.
Modular green infrastructure
With a focus clearly on sustainable technology, the city also wants to encourage citizens to use electric cars. Some of the Shuffles have also been fitted with EV chargers to facilitate the adoption of these cars.
The city and the organisers of the BUGA wanted innovative technology that would shape a residential district in the 21st century city - one that delivers what people want and need. The Shuffle provided them with an aesthetic modular system to do that. It does more than simply light to show the way - it creates a sense of safety and well-being - so that families and friends, of all ages, can gather outside and connect - forming a new, strong-knit community and securing a legacy beyond BUGA.
We needed FutureProof solutions of course. We wanted to show that we are embracing the future. And I believe that we have achieved a forward-thinking tech-enabled district in a very constructive way.