Our biggest task was to develop a programme of research, community engagement and co-design in each city, under the banner of Urban Lighting Labs (ULLs). The aim has been to develop a rich social knowledge of how older people use and experience public space in their neighbourhood, contextualised in their wider lives of everyday routines, issues, aspirations and concerns.
The research has been built around a range of ethnographic strategies, based on local conditions, including short and long interviews, observation and visual documentation, walkabouts to understand how people use key spaces and participation in a range of activities and organizations for the elderly. In addition we have worked with a range of ‘experts’ such as care workers, teachers, health workers, librarians and so on.
In addition, we have carried formal and informal workshops that aim to develop a common understanding of light and space, and to test out design ideas.
Out of this research (February 2022-December 2022), we have developed lighting designs for strategic areas in each district. You can look at these designs and their underlying research and social and design rationales under the following links: Amsterdam – Bologna – Tartu.
Once switched on (beginning of June 2023), we will be able to conduct a range of further research activities for the following year, including workshops, surveys and experimentation: the light engines, designed by Neri, allow for tuneable white (2300-4000 K) and dimming programmes so that we can try out a range of lighting scenes. In some cases we have also rolled out different CRI specifications (80-90) to see if the differences are perceived or impactful.
The lighting was designed to be installed for one year as part of the ENLIGHTENme programme. However in each city, the lights have been adopted by the municipality as permanent fixtures, and can be the basis for either extension or further development.