NEW PROJECT – Configuring Light launches expert working group to tackle social inequalities in public lighting

On 12 February 2016, Configuring Light is launching an expert working group to tackle social inequalities in public lighting. The project is funded by LSE HEIF5 and assembles high-profile experts and stakeholders in the fields of design, planning and policy making to develop a cross-disciplinary and actionable agenda to facilitate a more careful consideration of lighting in housing planning and development. Light is a powerful material.

It is fundamental to our lives and it can help create new and interesting spaces in many different ways. Light is also gaining a new momentum in urban planning and public space design. But not all of us benefit equally from this new status of light and lighting. For example, the lighting in London’s different residential areas tells us a story about social inequalities: while housing estates tend to be brightly illuminated to allow for better CCTV surveillance, streets with a wealthier demographic are usually darker and free from these crude lighting interventions. In other words, darkness has become a luxurious good in London and public lighting heightens social inequalities. The expert working group will meet on three occasions and discuss different London-based housing case study sites, seeing presentations and commentary from working group members. Based on the discussions and evaluations, a report providing new strategies for addressing social inequalities in public lighting will be launched in a public LSE event on 12 May 2016. Confirmed delegates are joining the group from Transport for London, Homes and Communities Agency, Crisis, Metropolitan Police, Speirs+Major, Arup, BDP and more.