With lighting infrastructure increasingly seen as the key enabler of the Smart City, many different parties are now entering the arena to claim ownership of the latest practises and solutions. Cities therefore have a lot to gain from bridging the knowledge gap. We asked Anne Bay, Director at the Danish Lighting Center, to give us her comments on the situation.
Which overall advise would you give to municipalities who are planning a major investment in urban lighting today?
To visit their neighbour. To visit other successful light installations in one’s region. To personally experience the new lighting solutions and see what works and what best meet the local demands.
Cities need to increase their knowledge and understanding of the new lighting solutions, which role do you see lighting designers play?
My impression is that Danish municipalities could benefit a lot from working with professional lighting designers that can bridge the gap sometimes existing between the engineered solution and the needs of citizens. Giant LED replacement schemes are rolled out without an in-depth understanding of potentials for enhancing city life through lighting.
How can citizens play a positive and active part in making their cities more livable, from a lighting perspective?
Maybe citizens can voice their own lighting ideas and worries as they would if changing the furniture and vegetation in city squares and streets
Smart City is the buzzword of our time; how does that affect your role in the future?
It seems DCLs members have mixed opinions. On one hand, Smart Cities and IoT offer a lot of opportunities for saving energy while making cities and buildings more liveable and functional – and, making a lot of business. On the other hand, we’re worried about Smart City lighting being treated as a commodity like water, that tastes the same no matter what faucet you open. We’re still in the middle of a massive technology shift that allows for excellent, as well as immature, solutions. Good, old lighting practices as in glare reduction and creating proper light distributions are ignored or actively disregarded because of the LED-hype. Consequently, DCL struggles to stay in the loop and communicate the need for a holistic approach.
Projects come and go, but the Danish Lighting Center remains; what’s the constant that you’re able to bring to members – and can stay in demand in the future?
We’ve existed since 1948 without public funding for our operation, and primarily building on memberships, relevant and competent knowledge sharing, and networking, which we trust will be in demand many years from now. We consider the many projects as opportunities for cooperation and for spreading our message even wider.
The Danish Lighting Center was founded in 1948. The object of the center is to promote the use of good and appropriate lighting. And to advance knowledge and to disseminate information for the improvement of the lighted environment to the benefit of society. You can read more here.