What if it were your civic duty to walk or dance to keep a city alive? Toulouse, the largest city in southwest France wants to use dance club technology to power its streetlights.

A few years ago, a company named Sustainable Dance Club (SDC) introduced a dance floor used to power an entire nightclub. In Rotterdam’s club WATT, the stomping feet of dancers powers the club’s light system and music. There’s even a huge battery life monitor to keep people interactive and dancing.

Here’s how it works:

The deputy mayor of Toulouse wants to take this technology and apply it to “pavement power,” generating electricity for street lamps simply by people strolling along the sidewalk.

As a trial run, eight modules have already been installed in Toulouse. Their design differs from the dance club, however, because the modules have to be modified to work for walkers instead of dancers.

Why not combine both? How different would our evenings be if we had to dance our way home, whirling on the sidewalk, looping arms with passer-bys and kicking up heels? Street lights wouldn’t just light up, they’d blare music into the streets. Waltz to some Sinatra, or break out the parachute pants for some Hammer Time.

Imagine a city where people wouldn’t move along the street with heads down, but do the funky-chicken in passing. Or grind on people to keep the vibe alive, like the couple in the following video.

I do suggest pulling less awkward moves than the ones shown here. Even the DJ seems bored, although the fate of the club rests entirely on his shoulders as he is responsible for the stiff dancers who are in turn responsible for keeping the music going, like a vicious cycle. If the powered pavement worked in the same manner, how would you feel about being responsible for shutting down a whole town?

Community Connection

What do you think, are powered pavement and dance floors a good way to practice sustainability? Will the long-term benefits outweigh the current costs?

Feature Photo by ezioman