Urban Public Space Lighting Implications (04-09-21)

Hvass and teammates investigated how lighting urban spaces influence perceptions of experiences there. They determined via a field study in public transportation waiting areas and a laboratory experiment (where one light zone simulated the same sort of waiting area and the other the surrounding urban space) that “participants perceived the atmosphere in the simulated waiting area as relaxed and private when luminance intensity was low. Furthermore, they perceived the lighting as harmonious and less glaring when luminance ratios between the waiting area and the surroundings were low.” Also, “Bright lighting allows improved perception of nearby details but may make the surrounding context appear dark and unpleasant, leading to perception of decreased safety.”  In addition, “Low contrast in lighting levels between the local space and the surrounding context increases perception of the area as relaxed and harmonious and decreases perceptions of glare. However, high luminance intensity in the surroundings increases visibility of objects in the surrounding context.”  The lighting conditions tested were described: “For the waiting area, we defined high, medium and low intensity illuminance levels as 200, 100 and 30 lux. For the surroundings, we tested high and low intensities of 20 lux and 5 lux.”  

Mette Hvass, Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg, Sebastian Boring, and Ellen Hansen.  2021.  “Intensity and Ratios of Lighting Affecting Perception of Space, Co-Presence and Surrounding Context, a Lab Experiment.”  Building and Environment, vol. 194, 107680, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.buildenv.2021.107680