The Project

During the last decade urban lighting concepts have been employed in order to accommodate the needs for commodity and security in urban areas. Exterior lighting has so far been considered only as a technical factor regardless of the social environment and not in connection with the citizens that are directly affected by the way it is used. It has also been noticed that numerous deprived urban areas in Europe tend to be characterised by outdoor low-light conditions, which often make people feel insecure, alienated and frustrated.

In this context, the main object of this project, initiated by the light art group BEFORELIGHT, is to investigate and practically experiment on the relationship between urban lighting and the civil society while trying to encourage dialogue, active participation and creativity.

By bringing together local communities, academic and professional contributors and light artists from around Europe the project’s goal and its concrete outcome is to create participatory light installations in specific neighborhoods of Maastricht, the Netherlands. Such an attempt will also be the result of a multidisciplinary and experiment – oriented process that will previously take place in Greece and Spain through the preparation of a Symposium and a Workshop.  The project’s aim is to encourage local communities to get engaged in actions that bring changes in public spaces and urban environments through the collaboration of artists, designers, scientists and social partners.

Overall, the purpose of the “Urban Lightscapes” project is to become a successful example of interdisciplinary, transnational and cultural cooperation while reflecting on public lighting. The artistic lighting installation aspires to bring changes not only in the chosen areas but also in other European communities that may use this project as a case study for future reference. Last but not least it wishes to be a good example of methodology for other future light installations. The challenge is to change the way citizens perceive open spaces and urban lighting by encouraging them to actively participate in such collaborative projects.