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Why Pittsburgh Is Dimming Its Streetlights

Pittsburgh is becoming the first city in the eastern U.S. to become dark sky compliant, meaning it will switch to LED lightbulbs that reduce light pollution and put the stars in view. 

An aerial view of the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh during a holiday event in December 2019. 

An aerial view of the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh during a holiday event in December 2019. 

Photographer: Mike Lincoln/TopShot Aerials

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The world’s urbanization has made it increasingly difficult to see the stars in city skies, but that may be changing — at least in Pittsburgh.  

The Pennsylvania city announced in August it will become a dark sky city  starting in 2022, meaning that it will switch to lower wattage LED bulbs and add shades along bridges, roads and other public areas. It’s the first city in the eastern part of the U.S. to adopt such policies but it joins other cities, including Tucson, Sedona and Flagstaff in Arizona, and Fulda in Germany, in their efforts to reduce light pollution and increase energy efficiency.