Christchurch's beauty after dark is being lost

October, 2013

Regular readers of my newsletter will be well aware of my views on how a city should be lit after dark. The lighting should be a glowing amber temperature because this creates a warm atmosphere that is inviting and lifts people's moods. It's also vital that the light is focused on the right areas. You may have seen some recent publicity where I was quoted as saying this was being lost in the Christchurch rebuild as amber street lights in some residential areas were being replaced by bright White LED alternatives.

I've already noticed this in my own neighbourhood when going for my daily walks. You can't but notice the change in atmosphere. The beautiful cities of Europe are all warmly lit, but Christchurch is going in the opposite direction.

If you have seen my work on the Knox Church, you'll understand what I'm talking about. The use of a warm colour temperature highlights the beauty of the building, despite it resembling a ruin by day. People often stop at night to take in this beauty. They don't always know what it is that they like. But it's the lighting and the mood it creates.

That's what we need throughout Christchurch, even in residential streets. There are some standards as to what colour temperature lighting must be used on streets, but footpaths are another matter. We have a great opportunity to create something special here. But I fear we are not taking advantage of it.

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Lighting Council New Zealand
Illuminating Engineering Society of Australia and New Zealand
New Zealand Green Building Council
Standards New Zealand
Association of Lighting Designers
Pure Advantage - Green Growth for Greater Wealth
New Zealand Retail Interior Association
Canterbury Employers´ Chamber of Commerce