In a nod to cultural superstition, Aurora is now allowing residents to eliminate the unlucky number 4 — or any other unwanted number — from their street address.
“Over the last few years, we’ve had a number of requests to change addresses with the number four in them,” said Marco Ramunno, Aurora’s director of planning and development services.
“It has a bad luck connotation for people from east Asia. It’s no different than the old number 13.”
In Asian cultures, the number 4 sounds like the word “death” when spoken, so is considered unlucky. As a result, some numbered products manufactured in Asian, such as certain cell phones, PDA’s and cameras, do not have the number 4 in their series names.
Aurora council voted Tuesday to allow residents to make a request to change their street numbers as long as there is a wide enough numbering gap.
On streets where numbers progress by intervals of four or more — for example, 2, 6, 10, 14, 18 — the street number “14” can be substituted with the numbers 12 or 16. In Cantonese culture, 14 is considered one of the unluckiest of numbers.
“If there’s an interval of at least four, then an opportunity to change the address exists,” Ramunno said.
If the street numbers progress by two in even and odd numbers on different sides of the street — 2, 4, 6, 8 — then the numbers cannot be changed.
“Unfortunately, there would be no room to make such changes,” said Ramunno, who himself has the number 4 in his street address.
Ramunno said the number 13, considered unlucky in Western cultures, was eliminated many years ago in Aurora’s residential street numbering system.