Why Bright Lights Are Important To The City

Why do lights gives a city its buzz? Is a neon renaissance afoot?

Maisonneuve urban affairs critic Christopher DeWolf turns his eye on city lights, from neon to bright billboards to architectural lighting.

"It’s no coincidence that some of the most iconic and beloved images of the city date from the middle of the twentieth century, when illumination was warmly embraced by the world’s metropoles," he writes. "Every city with dreams of making it big boasted a Great White Way, the best and brightest part of town to which crowds flocked, looking for excitement. Ever since electricity was invented in the late nineteenth century, light has been used to define urban space and create a sense of place. Stern white light projected against the facade of a church or city hall instills a sense of power and gravitas; the blinking neon and all-consuming illumination of a busy main street, by contrast, shouts, “You are here!” with giddy enthusiasm."

[Editor's note: The website requires free registration to view the full text of the article.]

Thanks to Phillip Todd

Full Story: Light and the city: Illuminating urban life

Comments

building block set

NEW! Build the world you want to see

Irresistible block set for adults when placed on a coffee table or desk, and great fun for kids.
$25
Red necktie with map of Boston

For dads and grads: tie one on to celebrate your city!

Choose from over 20 styles imprinted with detailed city or transit maps.
$44.95
Book cover of Insider's Guide to Careers in Urban Planning

So you want to be a planner...

Check out our behind the scenes look at 25 careers in the Urban Planning field
Starting at $14.95

NEW! City Map Posters

Available in 9 different cities.
$25.00