Lighting design consultant Mark Sutton Vane backed a new approach to urban lighting when he spoke at the Royal College of Art’s Urban Spirit of Light seminar on 25 September 2012 at the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, London.The Urban Spirit of Light seminar launched the results of a two-year project: 'In the Shade: Lighting Urban Communities', which proposes a fundamental rethink of how we light urban public spaces. Based on the premise that city lighting is distributed unevenly, with light pollution in some tourist areas and many pockets of the city under-lit at night, the project sought alternative lighting strategies that could revitalise overlooked urban spaces.
Better lighting not necessarily less
Mark Sutton Vane was the only lighting designer to speak at the event and has long experience of developing influential lighting strategies and masterplans for cities such as Liverpool and Portsmouth.
Mark says: ‘We need a radical overhaul of our whole approach to the night time cityscape and night time economy that uses lighting to improve the lives of the people in our cities,’ says Sutton Vane. ‘We have to put much more emphasis on zoning and developing a hierarchy of urban lighting to delineate areas of use appropriately, fine-tuning the way we light the public realm so that communities benefit. Too many areas are unwelcoming or poorly lit when we should be ensuring that they feel safe and enable when we should be ensuring that they feel safe and enable people to enjoy city life.’
Study proposes ‘Night-time Neighbourhood Network’
The event launched Megan Charnley and Tom Jarvis’s book, ‘In the Shade: Lighting Urban Communities’, which discusses the potential of a ‘Night-time Neighbourhood Network’ to encourage social activity around community facilities. The book is the result of the second collaboration between the RCA Helen Hamlyn Centre, the RCA's Department of Architecture and the Megaman Charity Trust Fund and builds on the findings of the previous study: 'Light Volumes and Dark Matters' (2008/10).