Cities of the Future

Philips Lighting South Africa investigates the future of our cities and how to work collectively to bring meaningful innovation into our cities

August 1, 2013

Johannesburg, South Africa: Today already more than half of the global population call cities home, and by 2030, 60% of the world will live in urban areas. Emerging economies are rapidly expanding to support their megacities which host in excess of 20 million people. The 21st century will be known as the age of urbanisation, where reliance on city innovation will be more important than ever before.


Bigger cities mean more roads and streets, offices, shops and city infrastructure and this in turn means a steep rise in demand for energy and natural resources. Today, cities already account for 70% of the world’s energy consumption, a figure that will only increase over time – leading to increasing energy bills and a negative environmental impact.


Unprecedented urbanisation provides cities with enormous opportunities for economic and social development but also with huge challenges.


The challenges

A key question is how South African cities can build intelligent city infrastructures to help them manage the ever growing demand for energy. For many African economies, regular power cuts are already a tedious reality. How will these cities manage to meet the growing energy demand and provide reliable energy while keeping energy bills under control?


Philips expects that by 2020 some 75% of our new lighting sales will be LED solutions, a figure based both on current sales figures and its expected future trends.


Light and mood – do you love your city?

Lighting plays a central role in how people feel about their city or town – often resulting in a sense of well-being, and encourages a more active night life. The illumination of streets and pedestrian areas has evolved from simple functional lighting into a more demanding and creative discipline.


In fact, lighting in our cities, on our roads and streets has been impacted by LED lighting for much longer than some realise. Back in the 1990s, one of first general uses for LEDs was in traffic lights. 


City Beautification

There are numerous benefits regarding using LEDs for illuminating facades and creating dynamic lighting effects. ‘City Beautification’ has been recognised by hundreds of cities around the world in the past few years. Spectacular effects, never before possible, have been achieved all over the globe, showcasing landmarks and futuristic cities. The growing trend for city beautification is driven not only by the need to attract investment & tourism through identity creation and city branding, but also by the need for energy efficiency and maintenance savings.


Africa is no exception in this trend. Examples of cities and landmarks lit up with Philips LED lighting systems include the Nelson Mandela Bridge in Johannesburg, the Cairo tower in Egypt, and many others in Ethiopia, Morocco and Egypt.


Safety in Light

Bigger cities can also mean increased concerns over crime and safety. City officials, urban planners and architects, need to work hard to create cities where people feel reassured in public spaces and comfortable where they live and work. Cities must maintain safety and security, through tackling and preventing crime, as much as by providing safe streets for both motorists and pedestrians.


Again, rapid developments in LED technologies and its applications offer unprecedented possibilities in cost effectiveness, sustainability and breathtaking design.


LED as the solution

Municipal decision makers need to keep up to date with the latest developments and the best solutions for creating a sustainable city.


The long life of LED sources means fewer fixture replacements and therefore fewer lamps to discard. Some LED fixture manufacturers use close to 100% recyclable materials and components in their fixtures, and engineer their fixtures so that they can be disassembled for recycling purposes.


Outdoor lighting in our cities, roads and streets

The final frontier for LED lighting waits on our roads and streets and LEDs are ready for these municipal applications. A LED street lighting system is already the most effective solution: lower maintenance costs, upgrades in LED efficacy over luminaire lifetime, better optics and control systems make LEDs a more attractive solution on the total cost of ownership.

For further information, please contact:

Jenny Heyes
Marketing Manager Philips Lighting Southern Africa
Telephone: 011 471 5056

About Royal Philips

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) is a diversified health and well-being company, focused on improving people’s lives through meaningful innovation in the areas of Healthcare, Consumer Lifestyle and Lighting. Headquartered in the Netherlands, Philips posted 2012 sales of EUR 24.8 billion and employs approximately 118,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. The company is a leader in cardiac care, acute care and home healthcare, energy efficient lighting solutions and new lighting applications, as well as male shaving and grooming and oral healthcare. News from Philips is located at