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Light Research @ MMU

Responsive Urban Lighting

One concern about public lighting in most cities is that citizens are simply passive consumers of illumination. We might try and affect this landscape by throwing stones at street lamps, but in the main there is not much we can do about the level and quality of light in our neighbourhood. When the sun goes down we just accept the street lights come on.

RUL is blog dedicated to sharing experimental research on Responsive Urban Lighting initiated by the Department of Architecture, Design and Media Technologies at Aalborg University. Utilising sensor and flexible lighting technologies offers new affordances to the design and use of space after dark. Pedestrians, for example, can now use their mobile phones to control lighting, enabling people to creatively interact with the landscape.

A future city scenario, therefore, might be a situation whereby local citizens can take control of illumination, perhaps to colourfully light their community during times of festivity, and then dimming the landscape to produce more intimate or cosy situations.

September 26th, 2013 - 13:42pm

Russel Foster on BBC Radio 4 The Life Scientific

Russel Foster talks about circadian rhythms and how light controls our well being. Foster’s research challenges established convention on how animals, including humans, sense light, by suggesting that even when deprived of rod and cone cells, we are still able to sense changes in light conditions. This implies that we are carrying genetic material, millions of years old, dating back to early life forms. Foster’s work also has great implications for medics research on treating blindness and mental disorders.

Listen to the whole programme

August 28th, 2013 - 10:07am

Das Kugelhaus

Das Kugelhaus (1928)

Das Kugelhaus (1928)

Das Kugelhaus was designed by Peter Birch and constructed in Dresden in 1928, but was sadly demolished just 10 years. This night-time view accentuates the futurist ideals it represented. Check out this website for a short video showing the construction of Das Kugelhaus.


May 15th, 2013 - 07:47am

Illuminated Grain Elevators

These illuminated grain elevators will form part of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Company’s regeneration of the Buffalo docklands.

The $5 million project extends the Silo City idea, which has already led to art shows jnside the silos, aims to transform the image of the city and turn industrial heritage into a tourist attraction. Thanks to Joni Palmer for the link.

May 8th, 2013 - 05:47am

Stories of Light: Illumination and Darkness in Rural India

Ankit Kumar, a PhD student at Durham University has created a fascinating blog on the inequalities of illumination in rural Indian villages. Often promised illumination by the authorities, electrification has never arrived in these villages due to corruption or a lack of political will. Accordingly, people live without electricity, and in pervasive nocturnal darkness often illuminating their environment with weak kerosene lights that flicker against the surrounding blackness. Ankit also shows how street traders without any lighting find it hard to survive in competition with those who are favourably situated next to street lamps.

Indian street scene



May 3rd, 2013 - 11:52am