A few months ago I met award-winning industrial designer Ian Dryden from the city of Melbourne, Australia. He taught me about Melbourne's street lighting program. Given the links between fear and street (in)activity, this is a very big deal.
Most cities get poor grades for night lighting. Melbourne gets an A.
Melbourne has an incredibly active downtown night life. It wasn't always. One long-term resident told me it was once a waste-land with few people daring to walk dark downtown streets. When the city changed direction and chose to attract an evening crowd to socialize in a safe, positive way, designers and planners stepped up.
Ian and his colleagues were among them. Melbourne's public lighting program is sophisticated. It creates both a luminous and carbon neutral city, no small feat with current energy costs.
They light parks, tram stops, news stands, benches, and sidewalks. They string interesting blue (and energy efficient) LEDs above intersections. Where most cities inadvertently obstruct street lights with tree canopies, Melbourne embellishes them with tinted uplighting.
This week the 2014 Australian Smart Lighting Summit is in Melbourne and they get to celebrate among lighting peers. They should. Congratulations!