The Lamp Post Project

Replacing stolen metal streetlight covers with low-cost plastic alternatives

#HowToAwkard Series


A voluntary project that started through a cycling exploration route around my neighbourhood. With the common sight of missing streetlight and traffic light covers, I did some quick research about metal theft in Malaysia and globally – the phenomenon of ripping off urban amenities and selling them as scrap metal. This initiative begun by rethinking citizen-oriented solutions that don't cost a bomb, is easy to implement and scalable across the city.


By quickly prototyping cardboard cut-outs, it was easy to measure the specific dimensions of common streetlight covers in the neighbourhood. I worked with a local makerspace on determining the right materials – high-impact plastic, in this case – that would endure our local climate and easy to manipulate. The steps to produce these:

  1. Heat-bend the material
  2. Shape the plastic into a cheap custom mold
  3. Give it a nice coat of spray paint
  4. Add additional graphics to the streetlight cover


Capturing the whole process in film, we deployed these alternative lamp post covers ('no value covers') on the streets in a small batch. A letter of proposal was delivered to the local authorities to better consider implementing this at scale. Fast forward to now, our streetlights no longer use steel covers and have implemented new covers with fibreglass-type materials that work as new, cheaper alternatives.

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