Lighting the Local

Public lecture hosted by Configuring Light

Urban lighting is becoming increasingly crucial for place making. The questions which are raised for city street lighting are many and complex: lighting functions as a critical aspect of way-finding at night, helping create pathways through the city and also plays a role in crime prevention and security. Simultaneously, local specificities play an important role as city lighting sets an ambience that enhances a sense of place and can support city branding.

This panel discussion questioned how to think about public lighting and the specifics of certain localities by presenting and discussing Configuring Light’s social research study of the lighting master plan for the city of Derby. The panel was chaired by LSE Cities’ Fran Tonkiss and comprised Pranali Parikh of Derby council, Satu Streatfield of Speirs+Major as well we Don Slater of the Configuring Light/Staging the Social research team; and discussed the role social research can play in understanding the city uses and users at night and how this can feed into the public lighting design process.

Funded by:

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    Pranali Parikh

    Pranali Parikh is an urban designer with experience of shaping the built environment. Across two continents, her work has ranged from interior design to urban regeneration. She is passionate about the socio-cultural dimension of spatial expression, human behaviour and placemaking.

    Don Slater

    Don Slater is associate professor at LSE Sociology and co-founded the Configuring Light Programme at LSE Cities with with Mona Sloane. Configuring Light is now hosted in LSE Sociology. His research focuses on relation between culture and economy, ethnographies of new media and digital culture in the third world, and visual culture. Within Configuring Light, he draws on actor-network theory and material culture studies to investigate how light, as a material, is configured into social, technical and spatial forms. He is currently developing a comparative research project on urban lighting in the Global South.

    Satu Streatfield

    Satu is a Senior Designer with Speirs + Major, who has a particular interest in public realm projects. She has worked on projects including Channel 4’s Big 4, Lights over Kruunuvuorenranta in Helsinki, various projects in London’s King’s Cross Central and a lighting strategy and pattern book for Bath, UK. She has a passion for music and sound, and was recently able to combine her two passions in a unique installation of drumming and light at the first ever Light Night Canning Town.

    Fran Tonkiss

    Fran Tonkiss is Professor of Sociology, and Deputy Head of Department. Her research and teaching is in the fields of urban and economic sociology. Her research interests focus on urban inequalities, urban development and design, social and spatial divisions, and the socio-economic organisation of urban space.  Publications in these fields include Cities by Design: the social life of urban form (Polity, 2013), Space, the City and Social Theory (Polity, 2005), and Contemporary Economic Sociology: Globalisation, Production, Inequality (Routledge, 2006). She is currently managing editor of Economy and Society; she was previously an editor of the British Journal of Sociology, and remains a member of the editorial board.