Can social research improve lighting on London's housing estates?

London's housing estates are not noted for their inspiring lighting.

But the LSE believes lighting design, backed up by social research among local communities, can help.

The university is inviting lighting designers to help research and develop a better lighting concept for the Whitecross Street estate in Islington, North London.

The LSE's centre for research on cities is hosting a workshop in October, in which lighting designers will spend a week working with residents to come up with a new design for the estate's outdoor lighting.

Designers taking part in the workshop will be trained in social research methods, to learn as much as they can about the people they’re designing for, and integrate this knowledge into their designs.

Training will cover interviewing, observation, data analysis, mapping, and how to use lighting demonstrations and experiments.

The project is being run by the Configuring Light research programme at LSE Cities, together with the Social Light Movement, a charitable network for lighting designers. Further support comes from manufacturer iGuzzini, which has provided luminaires for use in the workshop.

The resulting lighting concept will be presented to representatives of Peabody, the housing trust that runs the estate, feeding into plans to improve the outdoor environment on Peabody estates.

LSE Cities hopes to be able to repeat the exercise in other locations in the UK and abroad.

Project manager Mona Sloane told Lux: ‘So far we have had a very positive response and lots of interest from the lighting design world as well as architects and planners, and we would be delighted to host this workshop again.’

For details of how to apply for a place on the free workshop, visit

Photo: Steve Cadman

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