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Design Brief

The instructions and guidelines in this section refer to the Professional Competition. All applicants agree to abide by the conditions listed below. For the purposes of this competition brief, the term “applicant” applies to both individual applicants and teams of competitors who come together to submit a single application.



In order to qualify for the competition, each applicant must register using the registration form found at  Once registration is complete, applicants will receive an email with a unique identification number and instructions to complete the submittal process.  The competition will include a $250 entry fee payable to the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Street Lighting. The email with your unique identification number will provide you with these instructions.


Registration and the submittal of the entry fee must be completed by Jan. 10, 2020 at 5:00pm PST. Below is the anticipated timeline for the competition as a whole; the City reserves the right to adjust it throughout the competition. If any adjustments are made to the timeline, all applicants will be notified by email.    


Professional category: The City of Los Angeles invites applicants from around the country and the world; residency in the City or County of Los Angeles is not required. That said, applicants should familiarize themselves with the specific history and current protocols of street lighting in Los Angeles. Though individual applications are permitted, we encourage the formation of teams that include experts in industrial design, lighting design, and engineering; licensed architects are also encouraged as team members. Successful entries will combine design innovation with practical knowledge about how to see their proposals fabricated and installed.



This is an estimated timeline and the City retains the right to modify this timeline during the course of the competition.  All updates will be provided on the website and send to the applicants.  

  • November 20, 2019: Official launch of the L.A. Lights the Way competition; website goes live with competition brief and entry instructions

  • January 10, 2020: Deadline for applicants to complete the registration process, including entry fee

  • Week of March 6, 2020: Jury meets to consider Stage 1 Proposals

  • March 16, 2020: Shortlist of up to four finalists announced to advance to Stage II

  • Week of March 16, 2020: Stage II begins. Technical Review Panel meets to consider finalists' proposals

  • April 1, 2020: Feedback from Technical Review Panel is sent to finalists and jury

  • May 25, 2020: Stage II proposals due 

  • Week of May 25, 2020: Jury meets to review Stage II proposals

  • June 2020: Announcement of winning design

** APRIL 2020: Due to the COVID-19 recent events, the dates of our contest have changed. Please click here to see the new dates.

Competition jury, in alphabetical order:

Danielle Brazell, General Manager, City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs

Frederick Fisher, FAIA, principal, Frederick Fisher and Partners Architects

Aura Garcia, Commissioner, Vice President, Board of Public Works

Christopher Hawthorne, Chief Design Officer, Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

Norma Isahakian, Executive Director, City of Los Angeles Bureau of Street Lighting

Alan Loomis, City Urban Designer, City of Santa Monica

Ellen Wright, AIA, Director of Terminal Planning, Los Angeles World Airports


Jury bios may be found in the Jury section of this website.


Honoraria and awards

Professional category: Each applicant that advances to Stage II will be named a Finalist in the competition. Each Finalist team will be expected to refine its proposal and respond to feedback from the Technical Review Panel. After Stage II is complete, one applicant will be named the winner of the L.A. Lights the Way competition and awarded a one-time cash prize of $70,000. The other Finalists will receive an award of $5,000 as the runner-ups. In addition, two Honorable Mention winners, chosen after the first round for design excellence but not advanced to Stage II, will receive an award.

Competition Advisor

The advisor for this competition may be reached at  The competition advisor will be responsible to monitor the progress of the competition, conduct an open house event, answer any questions from competitors, issue clarifications, and give instructions to the jury.  



Applicants will remain anonymous during the full extent of the review process. All applicants must use the identification number given to them during the registration process for Stage I and the identification number given to them by the Competition Advisor for Stage II.  No member of the jury shall be in communication with any competitor after March 6, 2020. Any competitor who attempts to contact a juror will be disqualified from the competition.


Ownership, copyright, and patent

The City of Los Angeles, its departments, boards, commissions, successors and assigns retains the right to use the winning streetlight design in the City of Los Angeles. The winning design may be used for manufacturing by the City at its discretion. The City may make adjustments to the final design to account for manufacturing or other issues. The finalists and the winner will be given credit on the Bureau of Street Lighting’s Website and in press releases announcing the results.


All drawings, materials submitted in either Stage of the competition shall become the property of the City of Los Angeles, its departments, boards, commissions, successors and assigns without restriction or limitation of their use. The competitor waives all rights for future compensation for or use of the artwork submitted.  All submissions must be accompanied by Attachment C: Ownership of Materials.  


Program Description

The required program for the L.A Lights the Way Competition includes one streetlight pole. The competition may include a new fixture/luminaire design as well. The Competition’s complete design range includes the pole, arm, fixture, and base, as well as required and recommended elements listed below.  Stage I of the Competition will cover the entire design range. Stage II focuses on the technical feasibility of the design proposals.


This competition is organized to select a new streetlight design to replace the City’s standard streetlight. As the lifecycle of currently installed standard streetlights ends, the City will replace them with the new streetlight design. The City will install the new standard streetlight in other locations as well, for example to accompany certain new construction. The new design must work in a variety of locations in varying conditions and be compatible with a diverse urban landscape.


The new standard streetlight must respond to lighting and safety requirements as well as the size and geometry of the city’s blocks and streets. The City asks applicants to submit designs that balance pragmatic and technical concerns with the aesthetic and forward-looking vision of the City of Los Angeles. All applicants must be cognizant of vandalism and include elements that are durable and maintenance-friendly.  


Required elements:


  • Project description (no more than 500 words) summarizing the applicant’s approach to the competition



  • Pedestrian Fixtures - Pedestrian fixtures are mounted on roadway street lights oriented over the sidewalk area to illuminate the pedestrian pathway. The design submittals shall include a rendering with a pedestrian fixture attached. As above, proposals may include a new pedestrian fixture design or one currently approved. 


  • Cultural Placard- For lack of a technical term, a "plaque" to carry text -- poetry, references to community and architectural history of particular communities, or some other means of conveying text, with a particular emphasis on legibility for pedestrians and others traveling on sidewalks. Applicants shall provide suggested size, color, and materials for the piece. The following are guidelines for this piece.  

    • The design must be at or near reading level.

    • The color and material must be durable for a hostile urban environment including dirt, vandalism and graffiti.  

    • The method to replace the placard for repair or updated text should be discussed in the proposal.   


  • LED strip

    • Recommended 3-foot strip.

    • The proposal should recommend the appropriate height from the ground.  

    • Colors can change for context of event and emergencies

    • It should be visible from 500’ away.  


  • Shade Sail - Hardware to hold shade sails or other devices to produce or extend shade. The shade sail is anticipated to be installed at a height of 16’.  This may be included separately or as part of the pedestrian fixture.  

    • Applicants shall submit a rendering of pole design with shade sails and must include material types used, especially for the hardware connection to the pole itself. It is recommended that applicants propose wind-resistant shade materials. Also note that the City has not committed funds to the production or installation of shade sails, but if a business improvement district or neighborhood wishes to invest in shade sails, they may be piloted in their communities.


Recommended additional elements:

These elements are noted below and are not required to be included in the submittal, although drawings that include them are permitted. 

  • Hardware or other attachment to hold solar panels

  • Parking signs

  • Wayfinding signs

  • Air Quality Monitors

  • EV Charging Stations

  • Cameras

  • Digital signage and public communication

  • Transportation Optimizer (real-time traffic monitoring)

  • Communication Equipment Co-location (4G and 5G antennas and radios) - The final pole design may be altered for those locations that the City will need to place 4G and 5G antennas and radios internal to the pole.  

  • Elements that aim to lower light pollution, promote Dark Sky goals, account for moonlight, and take into account the welfare of wildlife.

Additional information:

  • In order to meet public safety standards the pole’s design must adhere to the following criteria:

    • The pole must have a height of 30’ to 32’.

    • The pole must have an arm that reaches out 4’ from the pole. 

    • The end of the 4’ arm must be a 2.375” OD tenon.

  • The competitor must designate the material used for the streetlight (preferably a recyclable, sustainable material that reduces environmental impact and mitigates operations and maintenance issues such as copper wire theft and rust). 


  • The competitor must designate at least one color for the streetlight pole. The competitor may include up to three colors. Each additional color will need its own set of renderings. 

  • Other factors to keep in mind:

    • Streetlights are typically placed with the centerline 2’ behind curb face.  

    • A base for the pole is strongly recommended. 

    • The handhole for access to wiring may be placed in the pole at 16’.  





Stage I Submission Requirements

Competition entries may include colored drawings or renderings or other electronic format and design descriptions:

  • First page shall include a project description (no more than 500 words) summarizing the applicant’s design approach to the project


The following information is required for Stage I Submission

  • Material and component identification 

  • Indication of colors and finishes

Each applicant’s entry shall include at a minimum five (5) renderings of the Streetlight Pole design with the following variations:

  • Streetlight Pole design with fixture (newly proposed fixture or one already in use by the City) without other attachments, adhering to measurements noted above.

  • Streetlight Pole design with pedestrian fixture (newly proposed fixture or one already in use by the City) attached

  • Streetlight Pole design with one 8’ x  3’ banner attached

  • Streetlight Pole design with EV Charging Station and one banner as above. 

  • Streetlight pole design with a “Shade Sail” or other shade element, including hardware to affix that element to the pole


Applicants are encouraged in these renderings to show the proposed streetlight in the Los Angeles context.


2. Submission and Deadline

Competition information and directions are available on .


All entries may be submitted electronically by email to



JUNE 15, 2020 at 4:00 PM


Bureau of Street Lighting

LA Lightpole Design Competition

1149 S. Broadway Ste 200

Los Angeles, CA 90015 


Late entries will not be accepted.

Applicants must make adequate allowance for the time involved in

submitting their entries electronically or in person. 


3. Questions and Answers

Applicants may pose questions about the competition to the Competition Advisor via the email address between the following dates: November 20, 2019 to January 6, 2020. All relevant questions will be published alongside answers from the competition organizers on the competition Website in January, 2020. 


The Bureau will host an event on January 6, 2020.  Time and Location is TBD. This event will allow applicants to ask questions and request clarifications.  The details of the events will be sent to all registered applicants by January 1, 2020. If you are not registered please email the competition advisor to be invited to this event.   


A similar opportunity will be available for applicants that advance to Stage II. 

Selection criteria

  • Selection criteria for Stage I:

  • 25% Quality and feasibility of the structural and material elements of proposal

  • 25% Quality and feasibility of the lighting-design elements of the proposal

  • 20% Visual coherence of the proposal

  • 15% Originality and strength of the proposal’s design vision

  • 15% Creativity and feasibility of the proposal’s strategy for incorporating the full range of programmatic requirements and optional features




Following Stage I, the City of Los Angeles will invite up to four applicants to advance as Finalists to Stage II, which will include an assessment of each Stage II proposal by a Technical Review Panel convened by the Bureau of Street Lighting. These assessments will be shared with Finalists and with the jury. Applicants are then required to refine their proposals in response to these assessments and submit the updated design by the Stage II deadline of May 29, 2020. The jury will meet a second time to select a winning design, which will be subject to approval by the Cultural Affairs Commission. 

Stage II Submission Requirements

  • Digital Copies of technical report, presentation display, and digital powerpoint presentation submitted electronically.  

  • Report for Technical Review Panel.  

  • Presentation Display Board. A mock-up of basic configuration of full scale streetlight pole on one 22” x 28” display board. This will be presented to the Cultural Affairs Commission.   

  • Digital PowerPoint Presentation. 

Technical review process

The technical review panel will consist of a Bureau of Street Lighting staff and industry expert(s).  The panel will provide comments on the feasibility of each Finalist design to the jury. 

Structural Requirements

The applicant shall submit the following information and details in Stage II:

  • SHOP DRAWING(S) of the poles should be submitted. 

    • Identification of all materials. This shall include standard designation including (standards) testing and materials or equivalent reference, mechanical properties, allowable stresses, and any other pertinent characteristics.   Yield strength shall be min. 40,000 psi.

    • Identification of all shapes.  Finishes shall comply with ASTM A123, and Sections 310-1 through 310-5.3 of the Standard Specification for Public Works Construction (Greenbook).

    • Height of pole: from top of pole to bottom of shaft (and from top of pole to bottom of base if applicable to Competitor’s design)

    • Outside dimensions of pole’s shaft at top

    • Outside dimensions of pole’s shaft at bottom

    • Foundation mounting detail (including base detail if applicable to Competitor’s design)

    • Connection detail at shaft for any device used to mount or attach luminaire, including mounting height

    • Weight of luminaire and effective projected area (EPA) if submittal includes a fixture design.

    • Luminaire arm length and outside diameter and thickness 

    • Weight of pole (shaft + any applicable base) and thickness

    • Typical details of main structural elements


  • FOUNDATION DESIGN - Stage II will need to include a Foundation Design.  The Stage II submittal process will need to include a Foundation drawing and associated Structural Calculations.  

    • The foundation design should not be deeper than 5’ and may include rebar.  

    • All calculations shall conform to AASHTO’s Standard Specifications for Structural Supports for Highways Signs, Luminaires and Traffic Signals except as specified and/or modified for the Program

    • The foundation design may use the following geotechnical conditions:                                                   Lateral bearing pressure: 100 psf/ft, Vertical bearing pressure: 1500 psf

  • STRUCTURAL CALCULATIONS (Pole and Foundation)

    • Calculations shall be prepared for all load combinations for each rendering submitted. The calculations must be in accordance with the most recent AASHTO.  

    • Stress analysis at the bottom of the pole demonstrating:

    • Structural performance of the materials proposed for the design

    • Stress analysis of the shaft to base detail demonstrating the structural performance of the materials proposed for the design

    • Stress analysis of the pole, including analyses in any section of the pole where significant changes in dimensions, shapes, or materials occur.

    • Stress analysis of any other major member of the Competitor’s design (if included in the Competitor’s design) , including but not limited to luminaire and its mounting device

    • Compliance with California Building Code  Section 1806

    • Where required by the characteristics of the Competitor’s design, calculations for local effects such as buckling shall be performed.

    • Where required by the characteristics of the Competitor’s design, stability and vibration calculations shall be performed 

    • All calculations shall conform to AASHTO’s Standard Specifications


The jury will then meet to determine the winner of the competition.

Selection criteria

  • Jury selection criteria for Stage II:

  • 30% Technical review/structural and material elements (includes fabrication and installation)

  • 30% Technical review/lighting

  • 20% Visual coherence of the proposal

  • 10% Originality and strength of the proposal’s design vision

  • 10% Creativity and feasibility of the proposal’s strategy for incorporating the full range of programmatic requirements and optional features

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