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Lights shine on us

16 Apr 2013

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The Yarra River is set to become the middle of the city, at least after dark, according to a draft City of Melbourne lighting report, released last month.

The report, Public Lighting Strategy 2013, stresses that the city should highlight the river as the centre of the city, given (according to the report) that Southbank is already the most popular night spot in Melbourne.

The report states that the city needed to “ensure that the quality, intensity and eventfulness of illumination identify this river as Melbourne’s pre-eminent public space.”

It also recommended that the city “emphasise the bridges as thresholds to the central city,” and “install distinctive light fittings that announce the special status of the river precinct.”

Yarra River Business Association executive officer, Tim Bracher, said it was great to hear the council wanted to showcase the Yarra River and its banks, and encouraged it to do so.

“It is yet another sign that the council truly recognises the river as the major visual and recreation focus of the city, and is continually working with the precinct to improve amenity and services,” Mr Bracher said.

He also said the YRBA encouraged the council to look at Southbank and the Yarra River as one entity and design any lighting with that in mind.

“The various lighting and signage systems that have evolved over the last 20 years have not helped in our effort to create a visually-unified precinct so a stylish, uniform lighting system will be a big step forward to emphasising to visitors that they are in a special part of the city,” he said.

“The lighting will need to be in keeping with the stylish modernity of the precinct’s architecture, sufficient in illumination to provide a sense of security to pedestrians, but angled so that it does not detract from the best views of Melbourne’s night skyline.”

The report also discusses the need to illuminate significant buildings and landmarks in and around Southbank, including Federation Square, Flinders Street Station and the bridges across the river.

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