As of April 2016, around 54 percent of the worldâ€™s population currently resides in urbanised areas, according to data from the World Bank. The number of people living in urban areas is expected to increase by 1.5 times to 6 billion come 2045, which means that the worldâ€™s cities will have to accommodate an additional population of 2 billion overall by that time.
In the World Urbanisation Prospects report released by Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs in 2014, the organisation said that the number of the worldâ€™s megacitiesâ€”defined as urban areas with populations exceeding 10 millionâ€”is currently at 28, compared to 10 in 1990.
The expected rise in the number of people living in urban areas means there is a need for the development of more sustainable infrastructure, including roads, power stations, water supplies, telecommunications and, importantly, city lighting.
Importance of lighting in cities
Since its introduction, electric light has been an integral part of the urban landscape. City lighting enables human activity by providing illumination and allowing visibility, especially at night. The night-time functionalities of a city all depend on how good its lighting is.
City illumination is also a key factor in the safety of a cityâ€™s inhabitants, enabling vehicles to avoid accidents on the road and allowing park goers to enjoy relaxing and worry-free strolls. Without ample and well-placed lighting at night, accidents are more likely to happen and criminality is higher.
Beyond that, urban lighting also has psychological effects on pedestrians. The presence of streetlights, for example, can improve how a person perceives his or her surroundings to be safe. Another example is how city lighting can make the landscape aesthetically pleasing, which can improve the overall mood. Â
In the recent past, the focus of urban illumination has been on providing lighting for vehicles. However, with more people migrating to cities, the focus is increasingly turning to pedestrian-centric lighting.
To make cities pedestrian-friendly, certain lighting problems must be addressed, including:
- Poorly-lit areas: In many cities, there are areas that do not get enough lighting. This can be dangerous for pedestrians because criminals tend to sneak around these areas.
- Too much or too little light: Too much lighting can produce glare and create blind spots.
- Old lighting systems: Most of the lighting systems of todayâ€™s cities are more than 20 years old, with many of them relying on outdated lighting technologies like incandescent bulbs and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs).
LED for better urban lighting
- Powerful enough to provide ample lighting â€“ Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) can provide ample urban lighting while consuming up to six times less wattage than incandescent bulbs.
- Can be customised according to needs â€“ LEDs can come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colours. Proper configurations can produce lumens of varying intensities and spectra.
- Cost-effective â€“ According to a whitepaper by SilverSpring Networks, city lighting consumes up to 40 percent of a cityâ€™s energy budget. Since LEDs are much more energy-efficient than traditional lighting, energy consumption costs are significantly reduced.
- Long-lasting â€“ LEDs can last up to 50,000 hours. If on for 24 hours a day, this means they can last up to 5.7 years, which is much higher than reported 11.5 months for CFLs and 50 days for incandescent bulbs.
Lighting up a city or town is possible with MatrixLED products. Our wide range of outdoor LED products can suit any public lighting needs. We also offer lighting design and consulting, lighting auditing and installation, including stress-free retrofitting. Visit MatrixLED to know more about our products. You can also contact us and schedule a free consultation today.