Biber Architects

Biber Architects

New York, NY


100 Ideas: 018 Street Lighting for People

By jamesbiber
Mar 26, '12 9:26 AM EST

Cobra head fixtures (and they are nearly as dangerous as they sound) are the standard fare for City streets. Because the D.O.T. has jurisdiction (and they are all about vehicular traffic) our streetlights are all about efficiently illuminating the street, not the sidewalk.

But the streets of NY are alive because of people, stores, stoops and garden, not cars, and we humans have entirely different lighting needs. The City needs an entirely different approach to lighting than the engineers at DOT are providing.

If we simply lowered the wattage and increased the efficiency of the existing lamps, the additional power could be used to power lighting mounted to the existing poles but facing inward. These lights could be warmer, softer and closer to the ground and to each other than the cobra heads. The sidewalks would be safer, more beautiful places, and that is where all the real life is.