The City of London is also known as the Square Mile, the financial district and historic Centre of London. It is headed by the Lord Mayor, an international ambassador for the City and UK financial and business services, a role separate from (and much older than) the Mayor of London. With an 800-year-old history, the City of London has a wealth of monuments and museums that include the Tower of London, Leadenhall Market, Museum of London and St Paul’s Cathedral.
The City of London also includes Culture Mile, a major destination for culture and creativity. This area is home to internationally renowned cultural institutions such as Barbican Centre, London Symphony Orchestra, Guildhall School of music and drama and the Museum of London.
The residential population of this small area is approximately 8,000 people. However, over 500,000 people commute into the City every day for work and over 10 million people visit as tourists every year.
PUBLIC LIGHTING MANAGEMENT
The municipality is responsible for
- street lighting
- lighting for city enhancement and illumination
- festive lighting
The City of London lighting team manages and maintain the public lighting through a Collaborative Partnership Contract, where we use our Contracting Partner to deliver lighting projects, ensuring we work effectively and efficiently to deliver the project aims and objectives. We outsource the following: structural testing, bridge lighting maintenance and board testing
The City of London’s first lighting strategy aims to deliver a holistic, creative and smart approach to balance light and darkness, which can better define urban spaces in the Square Mile. Its aim is to provide the City with the lighting it needs and improve the quality of life for its workers and residents, by avoiding unnecessary light pollution, over-lighting, excessive glare and inconsistencies in lighting design.
The Strategy proposes a series of key recommendations that address three main areas: functional, environmental and technical. Lighting standards that meet the needs of the different types of road and spaces are also suggested. These include lighting levels, colour temperature and lantern mounting height.
Furthermore, this document identifies a series of character areas within the City of London, each with its unique attributes. Distinctive recommendations are suggested for each area, which allows lighting to respect and enhance their characteristics.
Some recently implemented lighting projects
- Public Lighting upgrade
Following the adoption of the City of London Lighting Strategy in 2018 the City of London is undertaking an ambitious relighting project to upgrade all the lights to LED, operated by a Central Management System called Urban Control which together with removing unnecessary lighting will save over £500,000 in energy and maintenance and more importantly reduce carbon emissions by at least 50%. Urban Control provides real time control of the streetlights so that lights can be dimmed or not switched on where ambient light from buildings provides sufficient illumination. The scheme will be completed in 2020.
The City Corporation will be using Urban Control’s Smart City app facilities in the future to monitor pollution, parking space availability, traffic flows and many other monitorable urban resources.
- Various Public Realm lighting projects
In recent years The City of London was able to enhances the look and feel of spaces at nighttime, through the improvement and creation of new public realm areas. Recent examples include the enhancement of St Alphage Gardens, a rediscovered historic public space in the heart of the City of London and the approach to St Paul’s Cathedral from the Millennium Bridge on the River Thames. The latter has seen the introduction of 2700 k lighting, the installation of handrails lights, historic lanterns and lower of mounting high, all controlled by the new CMS implemented and in line with the innovative Lighting Strategy guidelines.
Another example is the new Aldgate Square, a new public space created through the removal of a traffic roundabout. The project’s design included the use of different light sources to create a balance between ensuring safety and enlivening the area after dark. This project is an example of how lighting has been incorporated from the initial design with the integration of permanent light fittings that allows for different lights to be used during different occasions, including temporary events.
- Illuminated River
Illuminated River is an unprecedented scheme to light up to 15 central London bridges, led by London architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands and American light artist Leo Villareal. Villareal will use the latest LED technology to ‘paint with light’, unifying the bridges while also revealing their unique architectural and historic identities. The first phase of four bridges is now live and includes London, Cannon Street, Southwark and Millennium bridges.
Perspectives for the future
Since the adoption of the City of London Lighting Strategy there has been a stronger emphasis on how the City should look and feel at night time. We are aiming to better balance light and darkness, meeting both functional and aesthetic need. The philosophy is ‘right light, in the right place, at the right time’.
The recommendations of the strategy are set to be implemented through a series of programme and projects, which include:
- Update of lighting policies through the Local Plan review and the development of an innovative planning guidance on lighting
- Continue the current LED upgrade and Control Management System installation following the implementation guidelines on lighting levels, colours and management
- Integration of lighting design in any new public realm project, following the priorities identified in the Character areas
- To ensure the legacy of the Strategy and the lighting upgrade is sustained, the City of London has created a Street Lighting board for on-going improvements and developments. The Board is formed by various officers from different City of London’s divisions (ie: planning; highways; open spaces, communities, COL Police, etc). It is an advise board and aims to provide comments that might inform any lighting design projects at the planning stage. The scope of the Board is also to allow the City to have a coordinated approach to lighting and discuss the various internal programmes that the City is progressing which are connected to light (i.e. Lighting upgrade; Smarter City; Night time economy, etc).
LIGHTING FACTS AND FIGURES
- Number of lighting points: 8260
- Number of illuminated sites: 27
- Total power used for public lighting (kW): 2017/18 – 3,707,008 kW
The City of London is committed to develop an inspiring cultural and art scene in its streets and public spaces. Besides the implementation of temporary lighting throughout the festive seasons, temporary lighting artistic installations and events are organised regularly. Examples of these are installations is our yearly temporary sculptures program ‘Sculpture in the City’, lighting projections on our landmark buildings and various temporary lighting artworks that aims to engage the public with light, art and play. Details on previous and current installations are available from the link in the appendices.
Culture Mile, a new culture quarter in the Square Mile, is undeniably one of the area where light can play a fundamental role in enliven the City at nighttime and has host already a major lighting event called the Tunnel Vision: Array in Beech Street. This installation saw Beech Street tunnel closed to traffic and turned into a huge blank canvas, using digital projections to transform the tunnel into a stunning visual realisation of a piece of music. Many more lighting installations are intended for the area with a future wider aspiration of installing permanent ‘plug and play’ lighting elements.
For more information :
- City of London Corporation website
- Culture Mile
- Sculpture in The City