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The effects of artificial lighting on urban legibility and wayfinding

Del-Negro, DDS; (2016) The effects of artificial lighting on urban legibility and wayfinding. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London.

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Abstract

The studies that concern the legibility of a city and navigation and wayfinding tasks usually only address the day-time dimension. Additionally, the implementation of lighting in the urban environments are often focussed mainly on functional aspects which rarely include improving the image of the entire urban scene, enhancing the legibility or facilitating the wayfinding process in a city at night. A small number of studies suggest that the movement of people may be affected by lighting, and that people select different landmarks at night on wayfinding tasks. Thus, it can be hypothesized that the legibility of a city and that wayfinding may be affected at night by artificial lighting. However, no systematic study has been made on this matter. This study took place in the cities of London and Lisbon and it aims to evaluate how the legibility and wayfinding may be affected by artificial lighting in an urban environment. It partially replicates a modified version of the methodology developed by Kevin Lynch in “The image of the city”, by adding to it a night-time dimension. It hypothesizes that the perception of the main elements of a city, and its image can differ at night, resulting in a modification of wayfinding behaviour. The results suggest that the recognition and the visual hierarchies of the most distinct elements of the cities can be modified at night. This seems related to luminance and colour contrast and also to the expectations of the observers. Wayfinding also seems to be affected by lighting, since the results suggest that people tend to select different routes at night. This seems to be mostly due to changes in the perception of space and of known landmarks, and to the fear of crime, all of which result mainly from the lighting conditions.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: The effects of artificial lighting on urban legibility and wayfinding
Event: UCL (University College London
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1475094
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