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Design Brief


The City of Los Angeles invites students to submit designs for a unique LA streetlight pole. There is no entry fee for students. The winners of the design contest will be presented Inspirational Awards with some monetary cash as the prize. The designs will be used to inspire the final LA pole design that is currently being worked on.


Professional Student Competition

The Professional Student Competition will be open to students enrolled in undergraduate (two- or four-year) or graduate programs at the college or university level, located in Los Angeles County.  The applicant’s educational institution must be listed as an eligible school registered with the L.A. Lights the Way program. This competition will comprise a single stage. 


School Competition Jury, in alphabetical order:

Jessica Caloza, Public Works Commissioner 

Nia Smith, Mayor's Youth Sustainability Council 

Megan Hackney, Assistant Director, Bureau of Street Lighting

Christos Chrysiliou, Los Angeles Unified School District


Selection criteria:

  • 35% Originality and strength of the proposal’s design vision

  • 35% Creativity and feasibility of the proposal’s strategy for incorporating the full range of programmatic requirements and optional features

  • 30% Visual coherence of the proposal


Program Description

The program for the BSL Student Design Competition includes one basic streetlight model.  The competition may include a new fixture/luminaire design as an option. The City’s basic streetlight currently is a tapered round galvanized steel pole that have a four foot arm with a standard street light fixture at the end that provides for the illumination of the roadway.  There is no base or other decoration element of this pole. This basic system has been in place since the 1950 with few iterations that includes fluted poles.  


The City would like students to design a new BASIC streetlight that will be unique for the City of LA and meet the following guidelines.  


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

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

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

  • A base for the pole is strongly recommended. 

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

  • Placement for a cultural placard at 5’ to 6’ up on the pole.  This placard will have an LA poem inscribed on it.  

  • 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.  The competitor may include up to three colors.  

The following information is required 

  • Overview of the major configurations of the model

  • Material and component identification

  • Indication of colors and finishes

  • Indication of illumination design and energy strategies

  • Illustrations of designs in the Los Angeles context


Each submittal shall include at a minimum four (4) renderings of the Streetlight Pole design with the following variations:

  • Streetlight Pole design only with no attachments that adheres to the basic elements noted below.  This will be used as the base for all variations. 

  • Streetlight Pole design with Pedestrian pole attached

  • Streetlight Pole design with Single side banner attached

  • Streetlight pole design with a “Shade Sail.” 


Required elements:

  • Streetlight -  The streetlight will be considered the main element of the design.  There are certain criteria the streetlight design must meet.  

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

  • Basic Elements - These elements include the streetlight, luminaire, cultural plaque, LED Strip, LA logo or other marker to signify this is an LA pole. 

  • Luminaire/Fixture - The design may include a new fixture design or you can use the fixture to the right.  

  • Pedestrian Fixtures - Pedestrian fixtures are mounted on roadway streetlights oriented over the sidewalk area to illuminate the pedestrian pathway.  The design submittals shall include a rendering with a pedestrian fixture attached. 

  • Cultural Plaque - For lack of a technical term, a "plaque" to carry text -- poetry, references to community and architectural history of particular communities, etc or some other means of conveying text, with a particular emphasis on legibility for pedestrians.  The poetry selections for the new pole will be completed by the City’s Poet Laureate in the Spring 2020. This piece should be at a normal height level for reading. The following are guidelines for this piece.  

    • LED strip

    • Recommended 3-foot strip with LED lights. (Length). 

    • 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 - The City of LA needs more shade so you may include something that provides more shade from the streetlight on the sidewalk area.  


Applicants Registration

Registration is not necessary but please visit our website at and sign up for announcements so you don’t miss any events or changes to the program or follow us @LAlight.   



All Professional Student submittals should be sent to the following address:


Bureau of Street Lighting

LA Lightpole Professional Student Design Competition

1149 S. Broadway Ste 200

Los Angeles, CA 90015 

Or emailed to



JUNE 15, 2020 at 4:00 PM




Competition entries may include colored drawings, renderings or electronic format and design descriptions.  First page shall include a project description (no more than 500 words) summarizing the Competitor’s design approach to the project



Professional Student category:  A total of two professional student entries will be chosen to receive Inspirational Awards which will include a cash prize of $1,000 each for teams of students enrolled in undergraduate (two- or four-year) or graduate programs at the college or university level. Please note that each entry will receive the same award regardless of how many members make up its team.  The award amounts will be sent to the school who will distribute the cash award to the student.  


The announcement for the award is estimated to be June 2020.  All applicants received will be notified if they got the award through email.  The winners will be notified through email and invited to the Board of Public Works for their award and prize.  If the winner cannot attend the prize and award will be sent through the school.   

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