Lighting is a powerful but often overlooked feature of our urban experience. Yet a lighting design can play an important role in the lifestyle of residents of a municipality. It can either enrich or impoverish the experiences of those who live there.
Is lighting a park or public space just a matter of security?
Urban lighting has always played a key role in safer driving and crime prevention. However, exposure to light also has other consequences that go beyond these valid considerations.
There is a connection between emotions and urban lighting scenes. At Oasis we take care to observe the emotions felt by citizens in outdoor public spaces that we illuminate such as pedestrian areas, parks and other public places.
We can encounter that outdoor lighting generates different types of moods in people. The intensity and quality of distribution can also influence feelings of security and social relationships. A well-lit space in which the faces and facial expressions are recognizable creates a feeling of increased comfort and protection and not threatened by the presence of others.
Lighting can therefore increase residents’ confidence in the city and the people who live in it. In cases where the design of the urban space targets meeting spaces, lighting can contribute by enhancing the image experience at night, thus encouraging people to stay and interact with each other, as well to promote socialization within the community.
For good lighting of urban spaces, it is not enough that the systems comply with the technical requirements imposed by regulations or the economic and energy requirements of municipalities, nor to make the urban setting spectacular. It is rather important to understand the relationship between the spaces and the behavior of the people around it, in order to improve the night-time liveliness and the quality of life of urban spaces with light.
Lighting is a key factor as it can clarify the layout of a park by focusing on walkways, focal points, meeting places and building entrances. When designed as a coordinated system, lighting improves the readability, use and enjoyment of a site at night.
It is often important to light up the main activity areas and walkways so that they become the center of pedestrian activity after dark. We can also make the decision not to light certain areas because their use at night would be hazardous or inappropriate.
The success of a public space is not only due to its location or design. In other words, while architects and urban planners must first design these spaces, what will matter most in the end is whether people will use them. This is where lighting plays such a crucial role so that they are accessible and adopted by the citizens once the sun has set.
The benefits are social and economic – modern LED lighting solutions can help parks and open public spaces provide excellent economic value, saving up to 70%. LED lighting can make spaces more welcoming and help create visual experiences. White LED lighting, for example, can provide a range of outdoor lighting solutions, from accent lighting to specific features to high intensity washes of intense white light.
Lighting can help reduce crime and, most importantly, fear of crime. People may feel unable to use parks and public spaces due to fear of crime. In addition to making physical changes to these spaces to make them safer, lighting can do a lot to lessen the fear of crime, and therefore encourage more use of it, making it accessible to everyone.
We are constantly evolving in order to better understand the impact of lighting on the lives of citizens and thus produce ideas for public lighting that will best serve the needs of municipalities. For example, we ask ourselves this type of question; Has the installation of lamps at low altitude been avoided in places where municipal machinery can damage them (lawnmower, snowblower, shovel)?
Oasis Lighting continually aims to create new, ever more creative lighting designs to help improve outdoor spaces for Quebec municipalities.