Municipality of Amsterdam – City of lights

From space, it can be seen that the Netherlands is completely lit up by the amount of artificial lights. 5% percent of all lighting in the Netherlands is in Amsterdam. Lighting plays a vital role in the quality of life in the city. Not only traffic and social safety benefit from good lighting, but also the atmosphere and livability are highly affected by it. On the other hand, artificial light uses energy and resources and can have negative effects on humans and ecosystems (i.e. artificial lights influence biorhythms,  and there are associations between artificial light and certain diseases).

Lighting in public spaces in Amsterdam falls under the responsibility of the municipality. Due to various social and technological developments, there is a need for a new perspective on lighting in Amsterdam. In addition, the municipality has various ambitions with regard to livability, the quality of life in public spaces and sustainability, in which lighting can play a role. The municipality already conducted multiple pilot projects with regard to sustainability and livability, e.g. smart lights that are controlled via an app in the Port area or sensors that are connected to street poles at Rembrandtplein that are temporarily intensified in case of emergency. However, while these projects mainly introduced new, alternative lights, there has been minimal progress in reducing light where possible. Therefore, in our project we will focus on minimizing the negative effects of light on humans and ecosystems and increasing sustainability by reducing artificial light in promising locations in Amsterdam. 

To approach this question we will conduct different types of complementing research that will provide a solution which is applicable, socially accepted and embedded in scientific knowledge. First, we will do a literature study to identify possible solution(s) and factors that make locations promising for reducing light based on the impact of light. Second, we will do a qualitative evaluation among stakeholders to determine the attitude towards light in general and our proposed solutions. Lastly, we will use this knowledge to determine a practical plan for a pilot in a specific location. At the end of June we will deliver a definitive pilot plan specific to a neighborhood in Amsterdam. This pilot plan will be validated in practice (i.e. feasibility, consideration of resident’s opinions, positive impacts of solution) and will be documented in such a way that the municipality can decide to implement the pilot in practice. 

Simon Cramer, Kaya Lucker, Channah Osinga