Singapore, 16th May 2010
One of the typical “luxuries” of developed countries (or cities) is a twenty four hour hot line to report faulty street or other public lights. We have that in the main cities in Australia and it is also here in Singapore. It is a sign of a developed nation when public safety has moved up the ladder of basic needs. Of course every country/city strives to be safe, but depending its wealth, priorities in public spending will be different and not necessarily on public lighting. I am talking here about big capital cities, comparing for instance Singapore to Mumbai, or London to Jakarta, which also battle anti-social behavior.
As countries develop one sees a gradual improvement and increase in the need of public lighting. It starts from lighting up the main roads to gradually lighting, important crossings, secondary roads, parks gardens etc. The higher the usage in terms of cars or pedestrians in the city, the higher the priority for lighting or lighting improvements. The sophistication of the lighting systems obviously increases with the well being of a city. In some countries, like Singapore for instance, roads and areas open to the public at night have to be lit. That is easy to say and do in a controlled environment like Singapore, but it is a totally different story when it comes to a village in rural Australia, Europe or elswhere.
The life style in a big city is also totally different then in a rural village and hence the needs for public lighting. I often spend my holidays in a rural village in the south of France. Till today there is still no public lighting at all. Is it unsafe…not at all, besides that most villagers go to bed early it is part of rural living. In fact it would totally change the dynamics of living if we were to have even a single street light!