Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Want to Draw a Crowd? Offer to Charge Phones

Want to Draw a Crowd? Offer to Charge Phones
Courtesy of Goal Zero

Urban designers take note: If you want to create modern-day public squares that encourage strangers to cross paths, try offering outlets at which passersby can plug in their phones.

AT&T will begin installing solar-powered phone-charging stations around New York this summer. The thin towers are topped by solar panels and contain batteries to collect energy for nighttime use. The company bought 25 charging stations priced around $8,000 each from Goal Zero, a solar-power company that worked with the design consultancy Pensa on the devices. AT&T plans to install the first 10 this week and the rest by the end of the month.