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Dr. Don Slater/UK

Don Slater/UK, Configuring Light at the London School of Economics

Don Slater is a sociologist and co-director of the research group Configuring Light at the London School of Economics. His work focuses on the social aspects of light and lighting, particularly urban life, and on how social researchers, designers and planners can work together. Previously, he worked on new media in development contexts, on economic sociology, consumer culture and on photography and visual culture.

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Social lighting and smart lighting: can they connect?

Presentation date: 26. October
Presentation time: 12:00

Smart lighting advocates promise to cities and governments. Not only greater technical efficiency and cost savings, but also something of a new society: new ways of connecting cities and citizens, of allocating infrastructure resources, of taking political decisions, of thinking about society. At the same time, this broader promise of more social lighting is often lost or buried in purely technical arrangements, in the software and the hardware.

The question we need to ask is, what kind of social infrastructure is being created by cities as they implement smart lighting? And can we be smarter about the ways in which cities connect smart lighting to society?

The presentation will draw on two very contrasting research projects: 1. ‘Municipal pathways to smart lighting’ is a project to investigate the ways in which an international selection of cities are defining, strategizing and implementing smart lighting; 2. ‘Disconnected infrastructures’ is a study of smart approaches to dealing with gender-based violence in low-income areas in South India.
Between the two, important questions are raised concerning how cities are (or could be) thinking about connecting smart lighting and social lighting.