Right now, we have the opportunity to ensure 5G becomes a critical piece of our connected future and the digital economy that enhances opportunity and outcomes for all. But we need to be ‘all in’.
We need to all agree that our streets and public places and spaces are important community assets, for all to be enjoyed.
We need to all commit to ensuring the deployment of 5G and urban infrastructure technology is coordinated and curated in a way that achieves the best outcomes for citizens, whilst ensuring that mutually reinforcing goals of all stakeholders are respected.
We need to all ensure that when technology is deployed in our public realm it is done with a view to aesthetics and street function, and not just the quickest, cheapest and easiest deployment.
We need to all embrace the principles in this document, to help guide our efforts (local government, telecommunications and public utility providers, property developers, urban infrastructure designers) toward the best outcomes for all citizens.
And to help all stakeholders kick-start this dialogue, we offer the following 5G City Design Principles:
Principle 1 - An agreed outcome for our streets
We need to redefine the future of our streets and agree on shared outcomes that the community, government and all stakeholders can work towards to deliver and maintain. We need to find an approach that balances the cost of deployment and a quality outcome for our public places and spaces.
Principle 2 - Trust and collaboration are the backbone
We need to ensure ‘time and space’ is provided for greater deliberation among the relevant stakeholders, and that we identify mutually-reinforcing objectives that can guide our efforts.
A successful outcome for 5G in our streets will only result from new processes and approaches to finding solutions. All stakeholders must acknowledge business-as-usual will not deliver the outcomes we need for our citizens.
Principle 3 - We put people first
Space for people can never be compromised by technology deployment and asset densification, but neither should their visual amenity be put behind ease of deployment. As part of an agreed outcome (Principle 1), stakeholders should consider agreeing on maximum small cell densities (per linear 100m) as part of the process.
Principle 4 – Sharing is the default
Facilitate co-location and co-masting of assets to concentrate telecommunications infrastructure to a limited number of assets, which when combined with carrier aggregation and network slicing, will minimise the spread of technology clutter through the sharing of small cell assets.
Principle 5 - Hide in plain sight
Develop an agreed approach to the deployment of small cells and associated supporting infrastructure, with an emphasis on respecting local character, heritage and the cumulative impact of assets within the public realm.
Opportunities to separate power/controller hardware from the antennae/ transmitters should be maximised wherever possible, as this will provide greater opportunities for hiding in plain sight.
Principle 6 - Trees are an asset to protect
Deployment of 5G infrastructure is to be tree friendly, and not seen as an impediment. Enhancing green infrastructure through the further delivery of additional trees within our streets should be a common goal.
Principle 7 - A new operating model for our streets
All street stakeholders should work towards establishing a new street operating model that can evolve a new coordinated approach for the future operation of our streets and their assets. 5G deployment, increasing IoT roll-out and evolving urban infrastructure in our streets (out of home media, first and last mile mobility, transit and ride share set down) are but some of the drivers for advancing a new operating model for these important public spaces.
Principle 8 - Future proofing, now
The co-use of underground trenches, conduits and coordination of disruptive works to lay future capacity should be a key goal, for the benefit of end users and local government authorities who are substantially impacted by adhoc work in these zones.
Principle 9 - Digital enablement is the future
As all stakeholders work together to deliver 5G deployment and other urban infrastructure in our streets, they commit to ensure that all future innovations beyond the near-term have their default set to digital. This means clearly acknowledging that our future cities are only going to become more ‘digital’ and more challenging, and therefore need to be envisioned with digital in mind from the beginning.