Poor lighting

From the August 20, 2007 New Yorker, “The Dark Side” by David Owen (not online), about the decrease in true darkness at night due to all the lighting. Here’s the counter-intuitive (which of course makes sense once you think about it):

Much so-called security lighting is designed with little thought for how eyes – or criminals – operate. Marcus Felson, a professor at the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University, has concluded lighting is effective mainly if it enables people to notice criminal activity as it’s taking place, and if it doesn’t help criminals to see what they’re doing. Bright, unshielded floodlights – one of the most common types of outdoor security lights in the country – often fail on both counts….

In the early seventies, the public-school system in San Antonio, Texas, began leaving many of its school buildings, parking lots, and other property dark at night and found that the no-lights policy not only reduced energy costs but also dramatically cut vandalism.

Here’s an interesting page that shows examples of bad and better lighting solutions.

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