By Dr. Solmaz Rezaei
Head of research and consulting department
Light is a non-physical element of urban landscape that can have a great impact on the quality of space. Since more than 80% of our impact from the world is created through visual communication, so our perception of space depends on its brightness. Light as a symbol of dynamism and flow of life plays an important role in the nightlife activity of modern cities as a boarding place. Light is not only a means to illuminate space but it can create space or emphasize space properties, including color and texture. Since the most important indicator of successful urban management is the ability to respond to the needs of citizens, correct lighting of urban areas can meet the citizens’ need for safe and pleasant activities during the night and have a pleasant effect on their health. For this reason, today in leading cities, the urban management community has pursued a social attitude towards urban lighting in a positive interaction with lighting experts, and is seeking to establish a link between citizens and the urban environment.
In cities, in addition to the physical elements and components of the space consisting of floor, ceiling, body and elements located in space, non-elemental elements, including behaviors and activities in space, are also the main components of urban space, all of which are as The main theme is urban lighting. In this regard, the correct use of lighting in cities requires the recognition of the characteristics of light and its relation to the environment, as well as familiarity with its impact on human behaviors. If such conditions are provided, one can see the creation of attractive, productive and creative spaces on the surface. Was the city. The main components of lighting include the purpose of lighting, the characteristics of the light source and its position. In urban lighting designs, it creates a different sense and quality depending on which element of space, with which light source and at what angle it is illuminated, creates. Such lighting, in order to be able to add to the efficiency of space, should be related to the visual order, directions and urban identity.
Each urban space has its own specific meaning, which is induced by the mental factors of the audience and observers. Therefore, space lighting should be in line with the expectations from the environment. For example, in the lighting of a historic space, its memory and history must be emphasized. Accordingly, the lighting of each location should not be contradictory to the environment, but must strengthen its spatial identity.
Urban experts argue that “readability, beauty and security” are the main goals of urban space illumination. “Readability” of urban spaces includes lighting for better identification of the route and space, such as passages and connection paths, active night spaces, reference points, information and advertising boards and accident prone locations such as pedestrian crossings. For example, according to surveys conducted by the International Commission on Illumination (CIE), despite only 25% of the total vehicle traffic at night, nearly 50% of accidents occur during these hours. It happens that the effective use of lighting for readability can more and more reduce such statistics.
“Beauty,” as the second goal of lighting, involves highlighting urban potentials, utilization in special occasions at specific times and places to create memorable spaces and identity, and preventing light pollution in the city. Utilizing such a tool with an aesthetic look, in addition to increasing the visual attractiveness of citizens, can play an important role in strengthening urban tourism. For example, following the SARS outbreak and severe recession in the Hong Kong City Tourism Industry, urban executives have seen an increase of more than 30% of urban tourists by implementing an illuminating design in 18 iconic city buildings. “Security” is also another goal of urban lighting, because by increasing visibility, crime can be prevented and a safe environment for social and economic activities is created in cities.
“In city life and urbanization, the role of the stars becomes diminishing gradually, while we have to look at them again, and become inspired by them, to gift the good light of the night to cities,” says the famous German architect, Klaus Winterhager.