Lighting in public spaces is often designed to simply perform the task of lighting the space for the safety of pedestrians and drivers, however outdoor lighting is increasingly being used to not only fulfil this primary purpose but to also influence how we perceive and act within an urban setting.

Why lighting is important for public spaces

Within the public realm, in spaces like parks, walkways and squares, there is a requirement for light so that people feel at ease after dark and are able to see potential hazards ahead clearly. This means that consistent light coverage is crucial, which in turn will dictate how many light fixtures are required and how far apart they can be. As well as boosting safety, lighting can influence the flow of movement, as pedestrians will favour following a path of light over risking the dark.

Lighting has the power to alter our perception of any space and is more than simply a technical requirement. The type, placement and light output of the fittings in a public space will all affect how safe people feel, which direction they travel in, and which architectural features their eyes are drawn towards.

The effect of public lighting on pedestrians

There are various ways in which outdoor lighting can be used to influence pedestrian behaviour. For example, you can ensure that bus stops are illuminated to encourage people to use public transport rather than walk or you can use focused spotlights to encourage engagement with particular focal points such as sculptures, fountains and towers that highlight the historical context.

You can also guide pedestrians to a particular place using lighting, such as bollards that clearly mark out a path. This could be the entrance of a building, for example, which is another place you can utilise lighting such as wall lights and floodlights to boost security and make pedestrians feel more at ease.

Lighting can be used to emphasise pedestrian activity over vehicle traffic by introducing smaller-scale and more frequently spaced fixtures, as opposed to overhead street lights. This can act as a traffic calming precaution as drivers will notice the difference between a pedestrian lit street and a highly illuminated highway and will feel compelled to slow down.

If the comfort of pedestrians is not considered when choosing public lighting, there is a risk of causing uncomfortable glare. The height of a lighting fixture, whether it be a post, bollard, wall light or ground spike, and the direction the light is being directed in, will affect someone’s experience of a public space so these decisions have to be considered carefully. Opting for the highest light output is not always the best solution, particularly in public spaces where there is a risk of the brightness affecting the visibility of pedestrians and drivers. Check out our post on understanding lumens for more guidance on output.

Lighting with durability and style combined

Outdoor lighting doesn’t have to be purely functional, at Asbac Lighting we provide lighting solutions that combine durability with style, so that they don’t just create the comfortable, safe environment needed but also contribute to the aesthetic of the space.

Every product in the Asbac Lighting outdoor lighting range is constructed using a shockproof resin material, is UV rays stabilised, and rust and corrosion free. Another feature to look out for is the IP rating, which one you require is determined by the requirements of the public space in question and what weather or outside forces the lighting may be exposed to. Most of our products are rated as IP55, IP65, IP66 or IP67.

The lighting you choose needs to suit the character of the space. It may be that the surrounding areas all have three luminaires per post and it would look out of place to have any less on the new fittings. Other factors to consider include the materials, colours, finishes and any existing street furniture as it’s important to maintain continuity. Particular materials, colours and finishes will only suit traditional settings and others will work better in a more modern space. The key here is to select contextually sensitive lighting, lighting that not only fulfils the roles previously described but has a design that works seamlessly with the immediate surroundings.

The impact of energy efficient public lighting

When it comes to lighting in a public space, you need it to be as efficient and low-maintenance as possible. Here at Asbac Lighting, our products are specifically built to withstand the rigours of an outdoor environment and are compatible with various low energy lamp options, from GX53 LED Lamps to E27 Filament LED Lamps. They all boast an impressive lifetime of 25,000 hours, removing the hassle of having to change lamps often.

There is also a significant cost saving when you switch to LED. Some sources suggest, around £77 million would be saved if all Britain’s streetlights were upgraded to LED. Several councils in the UK this year have discovered the financial benefits of switching public lighting to LED, as well as the benefits of improved facial recognition via CCTV due to the cooler colour temperature that LED brings.

Why choose Asbac Lighting for public lighting?

Whilst they will vary in functionality, there should still be stylistic compatibility between the different types of lighting fixtures that you choose. With Asbac Lighting’s seamless outdoor lighting collections you can use a combination of products to effectively illuminate the space at varying levels while maintaining a cohesive style.

While some spaces will suit a more contemporary lighting approach, others will suit the more ‘classic’ designs. If you’re lighting a traditional public space with historical features then the Classic Lantern collection is ideal, with different options including wall lights, pedestal lights, and posts of different heights with either 1, 2 or 3 luminaires. On the other hand, the Modern lantern collections have been designed for a contemporary city setting with a clean and sleek design, this is the modern twist on the traditional lantern style street lighting. You even have the option to design your own lamp post, with steps for choosing the design of the lantern, the number of lamps needed, and the height.

Watchet Harbour, Somerset

The Esplanade at Watchet Harbour is a great example of lighting a public space. The council required fittings that provided suitable lighting and fitted in with the style of the area.

View the project