ELSE, Experience of Lighting Sustainability in the Urban Environment is about studying how lighting affects the users’ perception of public urban spaces and how this relation ship between people, light and the city can be traslated into more socially and environmentally sustainable products of light design .
We, as humans, are mainly creatures of the day, but night, predictable and inevitable, is part of our experiences and shapes our psychological social, cultural, and economic lives. The research will focus on the many layers of nighttime experience in urban spaces through a multidisciplinary approach: starting from the technical knowledge updated due to new technologies, the research will enhance its boundaries drawing on behavioural disciplines toward a better understanding of human beings: sociology and environmental studies including interaction, urban and lighting design.
There is a wide range of important ethical, aesthetical and operational levels that should be took in account when designing the street lighting system.
These include a human factors that is mainly done by the physiological perception of light and dark; the psychological perception and experiential effects of light on human beings individually and in social settings; the sociology of night; the cognitive and psychological effects of lighting in the perception of the space. Lighting provides for our visual needs but is also fundamental for well-being and comfort of the space but also for the perception of safety and security. Lighting has also strong social and emotional significance and is crucial to human performance.
The way the lighting shapes the city image at night is the basis of the perceptive relationship between people, light and space. The nocturnal artificial light from static has become more dynamic, rich in variable and transformable as the city is.
More than this, operational factors include technology and the development of lighting and the creative use of lighting in urban settings. These include determining the lighting level required to accomplish the objective; balancing the cost, energy efficiency, maintenance regime and life cycle of the product chosen; selecting the fixture and pole style and deciding about pole height and spacing, avoiding sky glow and light trespass through cut-off options; using control systems such as motion sensors, timers, or light sensors; using renewable energies based on PV for an off-grif lighting system; evaluating the effects of lighting on nearby ecological habitats, such as parks and greenways.