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After decades "in the shadows", urban lighting is re-emerging as a matter of public debate. Long-standing truths are increasingly questioned as a confluence of developments affects lighting itself and the way it is viewed. Light has become an integral element of place-making and energy-saving initiatives alike. Rapidly evolving lighting technologies are opening up new possibilities, but also posing new challenges to planners, and awareness is growing that artificial illumination is not purely benign but can actually constitute a form of pollution. As a result, public policy frameworks, incentives and initiatives are undergoing a phase of innovation and change that will affect how cities are lit for years to come.
The first comprehensive compilation of current scientific discussions on urban lighting and light pollution from a social science and humanities perspective, Urban Lighting, Light Pollution and Society contributes to an evolving international debate on an increasingly controversial topic. The contributions draw a rich panorama of the manifold discourses connected with artificial illumination in the past and present – from early attempts to promote new lighting technologies in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to current debates on restricting its excessive usage in public space and the protection of darkness. By bringing together a cross-section of current findings and debates on urban lighting and light pollution from a wide variety of disciplines, it reflects that artificial lighting is multifaceted in its qualities, utilisation and interpretation.
Including case studies from the United States, Europe, and the UK, Urban Lighting, Light Pollution and Society is one of the first to take a serious assessment of light, pollution, and places and is a valuable resource for planners, policy makers and students in related subjects.
Part I: Lighting up the City: Perceptions and Practices
1. Out of the Dark: A Brief History of Artificial Light in Outdoor Spaces
2. The Transformation of American Urban Space - Early Electric Lighting, 1875-1915
3. From Shakespearean Nights to Light Pollution: (Artificial) Light in Anglophone Literature
4. The Emergence of Public Nightlife in Nineteenth Century Istanbul
5. The Rich Potentialities of Light Festivals: Defamiliarisation, a Sense of Place and Convivial Atmospheres
Part II: Dimming it Down: Lighting Conflicts and Regulation
1. Lighting Conflicts from a Historical Perspective
2. Regulating Urban Lighting - Prospects for Institutional Change
3. Lighting Master Plans - Status Quo, Possibilities and Limitations
4. Regulating Light Pollution in Europe: Legal Challenges and Ways Forward
5. Designating Dark Sky Areas: Actors and Interests
Part III: Counting the Costs: Evaluating Light and Darkness
1. The Economics of Night-Time Illumination
2. Residents' perceptions of light and darkness
3. Improved Visibility of the Night Sky: An Economic Analysis
4. The Value of the Night Sky
5. Night lights - an indicator for the good life?
Towards a Brighter Future? - Conclusions for Lighting Research and Policy
Josiane Meier is a researcher and lecturer at the Technical University of Berlin, Department for Urban and Regional Planning. She is currently investigating how the revaluation of darkness and the increasing awareness of light pollution are influencing planning practices and paradigms.
Ute Hasenöhrl, historian at the the Leibniz-Institute for Regional Development and Structural Planning, is author of the book Zivilgesellschaft und Protest. Eine Geschichte der Naturschutz- und Umweltbewegung in Bayern 1945-1980 (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2011). She is currently working on a knowledge and resource history of lighting in the British Empire.
Katharina Krause is a research associate at the Leibniz Institute for Regional Development and Structural Planning. She is currently investigating urban light conflicts and respective policy arrangements. Her broader research interests are sustainable urban planning and socio-technical systems.
Merle Pottharst is a researcher at the Technical University of Berlin, Department for Urban and Regional Planning, where she analysed the negative and positive effects of artificial outdoor lighting. Her research interests are in environmental and regional planning, sustainability and nature conservation.