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Street Lighting= Humans + Space + Light

A suggestion for urban lighting design method to enhance the urban nocturnal experience.

This Methodology begins with the desire to design street lighting in a comprehensive approach, claiming that we should understand the complexity of things and look at them as one, as a whole.

Traditionally, street lighting has been the basic component of public outdoor lighting. In urban setting, it is the street lighting, along with traffic signals and signs that organize and define the visual environment at night.

As we advance in the 21st century, our visual environment at night time is increasingly shaped by the predominance of information and communication technologies. The concomitant over stimulation, particularly on a visual level, by street lighting, by images, advertising messages and news information all at the same time als­­o affects potential ways of perceiving space. These are increasingly predetermined by a clearly goal-oriented flood of messages and statements, depriving the viewer of the ability to form independent opinions. Our urban experience, even our memories, is rooted above all in images. Today, the street lighting condition of our cities is far less than optimal.

Street lighting was designed mainly for roads with no respect to the urban environment. It has been adapted to the needs of safety and security without any relation to the urban experience, the architecture or pedestrians. There is a sense of unnecessary repetitive “copy-paste” in constant distance without any reference. This situation where we light up the streets in a monotonous manner neutralizes the experience of the night that the city should produce. Without any hierarchical ranking the city looks dull. The way we think about urban planning, architecture and user experience of the street during the daytime disappears altogether at night-time and is transformed for the needs of drivers.

Instead of using light to emphasize places we choose to illuminate the streets uniformly. Also in terms of energy consumption, don’t we invest extra effort to illuminate the entire street evenly without any special goal or a real meaning?

This Methodology stems from a desire to produce tailored street lighting for the main user of the ­­street – pedestrians, by creating suitable environment that contributes to urban experience at night time. How to integrate the street lighting as a major element in our urban environment in order to leads and enriches the experience of the street by nigh time and not as a by-product of planned traffic?

In order to get a better understanding of street lighting, I explored the history of its development over the years, both technologically and in terms of characteristics and ways of thinking. And to make it happen I have developed a design method is which based on street lighting components; LIGHT, SPACE and HUMANS characteristics.

Each of these components contains a rich world within itself. The method basically connects these three components and examines the overlap between them, and presents the possibility of how to reach a complex situation where every one of the components is expressed in high accordance with the others. The method follows the creative process from site analysis through concept formulation and concept development to practical solutions. The design method was created for the use of architects, lighting designers, urban planners, and decision-makers in municipalities.

The design method was developed as a useful tool for professionals who deal with lighting, while at the same time based on a case study that helped to build it and test it during the various phases.

Tutor: Diana Joels


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