DLC Webinar to Explore Misconceptions, Safety & Health Implications of Poor Quality Light at Night in Marginalized Communities

DLC

Nov 23, 2021

A free webinar hosted by the DesignLights Consortium (DLC) on December 9 will dive into issues related to poor nighttime lighting in underserved, marginalized communities, with an expert panel offering insights about these impacts and how to balance safety with responsible lighting while bridging the inequality gap.

“Environmental injustice takes many forms and lighting is no exception. Underserved neighborhoods, often communities of color, frequently endure inferior quality lighting, ranging from misconceptions about how brightly spaces must be lit to promote safety to neglecting lighting in need of repair,” DLC Executive Director and CEO Tina Halfpenny said. “This webinar will explore how poor quality light at night impacts health, wellbeing and safety in marginalized communities and ways to mitigate those impacts with well-designed, responsible lighting.”

“Responsible Lighting at Night: Bridging the Inequality Gap” will feature compelling presentations by professionals expert in a diverse array of fields. Exploring issues such as how light has been used in systems of racism and oppression and systemic choices that have led to lack of good lighting in underserved communities, the webinar will be moderated by Lauren Dandridge, principal of Chromatic, a lighting design firm that promotes the equitable application of lighting design for all communities. Dandridge is also an adjunct assistant professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Southern California, where she teaches architectural lighting design. Panelists include:

• Don Slater, associate professor of sociology at the London School of Economics and co-director of the Configuring Light/Staging the Social research group. His research focuses on light and lighting as core elements of urban fabric and aims to foster dialogue and collaboration among social research, lighting design, and urban planning, particularly in the realm of space and infrastructure.
• R. Joshua Scannell, assistant professor of digital media theory at The New School’s School of Media Studies in New York. His work explores how changing digital technologies transform the relationship between the body and its environment, and how this relates to race- and gender-based political and economic exploitation of various populations.
• Robert Williams, assistant professor of political science at Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina, whose studies center on political theory, especially modern, contemporary and critical theories. His recent concentration is on environmental justice, the spatiality of politics (and the spatiality of night), and cyber-politics of the Internet.

The upcoming webinar comes as the DLC is working on final LUNA technical requirements that will specify performance criteria for energy efficient commercial and industrial lighting products that also have light pollution mitigating features. In general, the draft technical requirements support the five principles for good outdoor lighting of the International Dark Sky Association and the Illuminating Engineering Society, which recommend that lighting:

• Be installed only when and where there is a clear purpose;

• Be targeted, directing the light beam downward so it doesn’t spill beyond where it’s needed;

• Be no brighter than necessary;

• Be controlled with timers, motion detectors, and other technology that allows lights to be dimmed when possible and turned off when not needed; and

• Use warmer colors, limiting shorter (blue-violet) wavelengths shown to contribute most to light pollution.

Through discussion of the inequities of outdoor lighting, the December 9 (1 – 2 p.m. EST) webinar will add context to how these principles can be applied to all communities. Register here.

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