I, myself, have never been to Rome, but from what I imagine, it is a magical city full of stunning architecture, cobblestone streets, and beautiful lighting that makes it come alive at night. After reading the latest drama about LED (light emitting diode) street lights being installed around the city, it made me think of what this means for Rome as well as the rest of the world.
Becoming a smart city has become a top priority on seemingly every city’s agenda within the past couple years, and converting to LED street lighting is a big step forward. Street lights are a necessity for cities, providing lighting for safety and assistance in the dark. Now, since cities invest so much into street lights, wouldn’t it make sense to take the smarter route and switch over to energy-efficient LED lights to help save money and provide brighter lighting for higher safety? It seems like a no-brainer, but the situation in Rome tells a different story.
So, why are the citizens in Rome having such a hard time accepting the change? In this circumstance, it comes down to the difference in quality and color of the LED lights versus the original, yellow sodium street lights. Rome is known for being a romantic city, and lighting plays a big role in this. It is natural for residents to resist change, but the benefits to converting are that the city will have full control of brightness, maintenance, and operation. It seems as though the positives outweigh the negatives, and in the grand scheme of things, the lighting can always be adjusted to keep the “romantic” ambiance alive.
The famous saying “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” is defined as: “when visiting a foreign land, follow the customs of those who live in it”. It can also mean that when you are in an unfamiliar situation, you should follow the lead of those who know the ropes. Rome has put itself in an unfamiliar situation by installing new lighting around the city and taking steps towards becoming a smart city, something that it does not have experience in. Coming from a company that supports smart cities and has strategic partnerships with LED lighting companies, installing LED lighting is a great step in the right direction and will provide a brighter path towards becoming a smart city. This change may seem overwhelming now because of the backlash that is coming along with it, but years from now it will be a great success both in terms of energy saving and the sustainability benefits it affords.