The competition is open to applicants from across the world, and will award more than US$75,000 (£58,000) in prizes - including US$70,000 to the overall winner and smaller prizes to high school, college, and graduate school students from across LA County.
Mayor Eric Garcetti launched the LA Lights the Way competition. “When we invest in smarter design in our streetlights and infrastructure, we can do more than brighten our public spaces — we can illuminate a future that’s cleaner, greener, and safer for all Angelenos,” he said. “LA Lights the Way is a competition where the winners aren’t the artists alone, but the people who live, work, and walk in our neighbourhoods every day — and it will help us combat climate change and promote equity across our city.”
The competition, which is led by the Mayor’s Office and the Bureau of Street Lighting (BSL), will ask applicants to consider how streetlights can incorporate new technology, include a written plaque or other space for text on each pole,and provide shade to help ease the impacts of the climate crisis.
BSL installs 1,000 to 2,000 standard streetlights each year. The organisers stressed that the final design will not impact the standing of historic streetlights already in place across the city. Instead, it will gradually replace the roughly 150,000 standard streetlights currently dispersed across Los Angeles.
“The City of Los Angeles has more than 223,000 streetlights that reflect our history through their beautiful designs,'' said BSL executive director Norma Isahakian. “I am so excited that LA Lights the Way will allow our basic standard streetlight to be designed to reflect who we are as Angelenos and carry us into the future.”
In addition to requiring technological innovation, text, shade and lighting for pedestrians, applicants are also encouraged to build other features into their designs:
- hardware or other attachments to hold solar panels;
- air quality monitors;
- EV charging stations;
- real-time traffic monitors;
- 4G and 5G antennas and radios;
- elements that aim to lower light pollution and take into account the welfare of wildlife; and
- parking and wayfinding signs.
The entries will be judged by a panel of seven experts in design, lighting, and public infrastructure, and the winner will be announced in June 2020.