DESIGN BASIS FOR URBAN LIGHTING MASTERPLANS – URBAN NIGHTSCAPE 2006 ATHENS
Swee submitted her post graduate thesis to the Urban Nightscape conference 2006 and from about the numerous submissions received by the organizers, her paper was selected for presentation and publication under the conference proceedings. The following is extracted from her article written for the Urban Nightscape 2006.
Need for Legible Lit Environment and Coherence to Human Perception
Since the above mentioned highlighted urgency in understanding of human perception in space and relating to visual needs for formulation of urban lighting master plans, reviews on 4 areas of studies would be required to establish the basis to this research. They are namely, Environmental Perception, Urban Design, Researches on Quality Indoor Lighting and Current Urban Lighting Design Practices. These studies would reveal the fundamentals of how human perceive environment3, how urban design could complement these visual needs1, patterns which existed for quality indoor lighting, research methodology available to quantify aesthetics and how these would relate to the current practice in urban lighting.
Visual qualities of an environment are highly important in human perception of the space.4Lynch proposed that there are 5 fundamental urban elements which were crucial to the legibility of the space, namely, landmarks, nodes, districts, edges and paths.1 These elements were not single dimensional, related to the element’s role on a greater scale, overall composition etc. Yet, these urban design criteria provided an insight on how urban lighting should complement these elements and investigate relationship between their illumination to derive the optimal expression of these elements in lighting. Kaplan and Nasar expanded on Lynch’s idea to conceive idea ofevaluative image of the city and the derivation of these visual cues. 3; 4 Kaplan proposed that perception involved 4 main concepts of Coherence, Complexity, Legibility and Mystery, relating to human’s constant need to extract information from his surroundings, so the ability of one to obtain information was related to one’s preference for this space. Also, the concept of depth was introduced in form of Mystery, which environment should allow for visual cues to entice exploration and creating visual depth. On the other hand, Nasar reviewed the need for environment to stimulate senses, while providing sufficient information to allow formation of evaluative images. Since researches in the field of environmental perception, and follow-ups on Kaplan’s, Nasar’s and Lynch’s theories were numerous and impossible to illustrate in detail within the length of this paper, so this research would focus on what were derived from these reviews and the resultant research questions, methodologies and objectives.