Balanced Brightness Levels: Exploring how lighting affects humans' experiences of architectural and social urban contexts.

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This paper explores how lighting and darkness influence human experiences of architectural and social public urban contexts in dark hours. Tram stations in Aarhus, Denmark, are used as cases to investigate how brightness levels influence human sensory experience of the local space, the surroundings, co-presence with other people, and the activities performed in a specific context. Furthermore, this paper describes a transdisciplinary process, where methods from natural science, social science and arts/humanities are combined in three pre-analyses and a main field experiment. Lighting is often related to safety while darkness is related to fear. However, the findings from the main field experiment of this project indicate that lower and balanced brightness levels can sharpen our senses and create a relaxed atmosphere. Additionally, lower brightness levels enrich perceptions of and connections with spatial and social surroundings, thereby increasing perceived safety. We argue for context specific field experiments based on pre-analyses and the use of a transdisciplinary process, for drawing nearer to people's immediate senses when exploring experiences of urban lighting. The ultimate goal of the studies is to inspire to solutions that exploit the architectural and social potential of lighting by lowering and balancing brightness levels, all while reducing energy use and light pollution.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLight Symposium 2022, Copenhagen Denmark
PublisherIOP Publishing
Publication date2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventLight Symposium 2022 - Aalborg University Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 21 Sept 202223 Sept 2022
Conference number: 8th


ConferenceLight Symposium 2022
LocationAalborg University Copenhagen
Internet address
SeriesIOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science


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