Mayor Garcetti Launches Streetlight Design Competition

by Mayor's Office on November 21, 2019
Old street lights

LOS ANGELES — Mayor Eric Garcetti today launched L.A. Lights the Way, a first-of-its kind competition to design and create a new standard streetlight for Los Angeles.


“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,” said Mayor Garcetti. “L.A. Lights the Way is a competition where the winners aren’t the artists alone, but the people who live, work, and walk in our neighborhoods every day — and it will help us combat climate change and promote equity across our city.”


L.A. Lights the Way kicked off its application process today at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Led by the Mayor’s Office and the Bureau of Street Lighting (BSL), the competition 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, giving the winner of the competition the chance to shape public-realm design at a dramatic scale and in nearly every corner of Los Angeles. 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 L.A. 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.”


The competition is open to applicants from across the world, and will award more than $75,000 in prizes — including $70,000 to the overall winner and smaller prizes to high school, college, and graduate school students from across L.A. County. 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.


In addition to requiring technological innovation, text, shade and lighting for pedestrians, applicants are also encouraged to build the following 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.

“Los Angeles is a creative capital, and the design elements that strengthen our city’s infrastructure will celebrate this shared identity,” said Danielle Brazell, General Manager of the Department of Cultural Affairs. “With L.A. Lights the Way, good form will follow function into the design of the new streetlights that will illuminate our communities.”


“There is no other city in the United States that has a history of streetlight design as rich and varied as Los Angeles does,” said Christopher Hawthorne, Chief Design Officer for the City of Los Angeles. “This competition will allow us to select a new standard streetlight design that both honors that remarkable legacy and points to the future.”


“As a juror for the L.A. Lights the Way student competitions, I encourage all college and Los Angeles Unified students to submit their designs,” said Christos Chrysiliou, Los Angeles Unified Director of Architectural & Engineering Services. “This is a remarkable opportunity for the next generation of students to share how they would reimagine future streetlights.”


The registration window for all L.A. Lights the Way submissions begins today. More information on the timeline for the entire competition and other details can be found at LALightstheWay.org.