Lights out? Lowering urban lighting levels and increasing atmosphere at a Danish tram station

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This study explores how lighting levels influence people’s experience of space and social interactions in waiting areas for public transportation after dark. Existing insights regarding the effects of lighting levels are often limited to their compliance with technical and regulatory requirements, and seldom address how they feel. In an architectural experiment, we compare and contrast people’s perceptions of their immediate surroundings in existing lighting and with dimmed lighting through comparative go-along interviews at a Danish inner-city tram station, using multimodal visual and sensory ethnographic methods. Drawing on anthropological and architectural theory and methods, we reveal findings that indicate that lower lighting levels can sharpen our senses and create a more relaxed experience and atmosphere, dwelling on the paradox of darkness being linked to both beauty and fear in the multisensory experience of nocturnal urban changes. The lower lighting levels, we show, enriches perceptions of - and connection with - the surroundings and increase (perceived) safety.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLighting Design in Shared Public Spaces
EditorsShanti Sumartojo
PublisherTaylor and Francis/Routledge
Publication date1 Jan 2022
ISBN (Print)9781032022642
ISBN (Electronic)9781000566178
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 selection and editorial matter, Shanti Sumartojo; individual chapters, the contributors.

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