Text: Sebnem Gelmalmaz

24. Jan 2014

Think BIG
“Lighting Planning for Stockholm”, a programme to develop a legible nocturnal image for Stockholm

When considering the new demands and needs of the globalised world, remarkably, image and identity are the basic concerns that city authorities focus on to show their cities’ local distinctiveness. While the globalised world is developing at a speed that is creating new responsibilities for cities, the role of urban lighting is changing as well. Public lighting installations are becoming an inevitable part of the future strategies of cities.

Lighting installations are still mostly confined to pointing out “some” selected historical monuments and creating colour-changing LED facades, and do not address nocturnal city components in the urban context. If lighting schemes in cities are not applied as part of an overall urban planning concept and are restricted to accentuating a few “selected“ landmarks, this might be effective as a way of sporadically creating charming nightscapes but in the long term can only serve to provide models for generating copy-and-paste night time images for cities. Lighting planning for a city requires thinking big. It is not a matter of performing magic. On the contrary, it is a fairly clear and simple task that requires comprehending the entire city structure, its reflected and reflecting identity, and its culture –in order to show its “real face” to the world. This paper approaches the issue of urban lighting design through the concept of urban planning. In this context, it explains “Lighting Planning for Stockholm”, a programme developed to provide a legible nocturnal image for the city based on two projects the author developed for the Municipality of Stockholm in 2010.

The city as an addictive machine! In his book “Delirious New York” in 1978, Rem Koolhaas declared that “The metropolis is an addictive machine, from which there is no escape…” Whenever I find myself disturbed by very bad lighting solution in a city, I recall this sentence. As Koolhaas emphasizes, there is no escape from cities. They become addictions in many ways. […]

The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 91

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