Cities Alive: Rethinking the shades of night explores the future of night-time design and lighting in cities. Urban lighting is moving beyond a focus on functional performance towards a much more granular, location-specific and holistic consideration of possible solutions. It is increasingly recognised as a fundamental component of healthier, safer, more resilient and more enjoyable urban environments.
In the past, the attitude of ‘the more light the better’ has led to a general abundance of light, especially in urban areas. We now know that it is crucial to rethink the value of darkness, to understand the different shades of night and to allow the night to have its own unique set of characters.
Rapid advances in lighting, information technology and intelligent systems offer immense opportunities for radical new approaches to urban night-times. The success of lighting in the future, however, will rely on our understanding of the adequate use of this technology. Technology should never be a singular driver for change, but should always react and respond to a clear social or environmental need. Only through an understanding of how to use these complex sets of technologies in an intelligent way, solutions, truly benefi cial to citizens, the environment and the economy, are possible.
Increasing demand for human-centred night-time experiences have inspired the emergence of more contextual lighting research and design practices. Understanding the complex and perpetually changing demands of people and cities will be the key important factor in designing solutions that work in accordance to the needs and desires of people, and the different shades of night.
This report is a product of collaboration between the Foresight, Research and Innovation and Lighting teams at Arup. It involved a wide range of internal and external experts.
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