After decades "in the shadows", urban lighting is re-emerging as a matter of public debate. Long-standing truths are increasingly questioned as a confluence of developments affects lighting itself and the way it is viewed. Light has become an integral element of place-making and energy-saving initiatives alike. Rapidly evolving lighting technologies are opening up new possibilities, but also posing new challenges to planners, and awareness is growing that artificial illumination is not purely benign but can actually constitute a form of pollution. As a result, public policy frameworks, incentives and initiatives are undergoing a phase of innovation and change that will affect how cities are lit for years to come.

The first comprehensive compilation of current scientific discussions on urban lighting and light pollution from a social science and humanities perspective, Urban Lighting, Light Pollution and Society contributes to an evolving international debate on an increasingly controversial topic. The contributions draw a rich panorama of the manifold discourses connected with artificial illumination in the past and present – from early attempts to promote new lighting technologies in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to current debates on restricting its excessive usage in public space and the protection of darkness. By bringing together a cross-section of current findings and debates on urban lighting and light pollution from a wide variety of disciplines, it reflects that artificial lighting is multifaceted in its qualities, utilisation and interpretation.

Including case studies from the United States, Europe, and the UK, Urban Lighting, Light Pollution and Society is one of the first to take a serious assessment of light, pollution, and places and is a valuable resource for planners, policy makers and students in related subjects.

chapter |6 pages

The New Visibility of Lighting: An Introduction

ByJosiane Meier, Merle Pottharst, Katharina Krause

part |2 pages

Part I Lighting up the City: Perceptions and Practices

part |2 pages

Part II Dimming It Down: Lighting Conflicts and Regulation

part |2 pages

Part III Counting the Costs: Evaluating Light and Darkness

chapter |4 pages


ByJürgen Meyerhoff

chapter 11|21 pages

The Economics of Night-Time Illumination

ByMerle Pottharst, Florian Wukovitsch

chapter 12|25 pages

Residents’ Perceptions of Light and Darkness

ByAnja Besecke, Robert Hänsch

chapter 14|17 pages

The Value of the Night Sky

ByTerrel Gallaway

chapter 15|15 pages

Night Lights: An Indicator of the Good Life?

ByPaul C. Sutton, Christopher D. Elvidge

chapter |6 pages

Towards a Brighter Future? Conclusions for

ByLighting Research and Policy