Follow the light

November 27, 2018

“A body, showing this precarity, is also resisting these very powers.”

How we move in the city is in many cases determined by the infrastructure but, at the same time, by social patterns or rules. The lighting infrastructure in the city was established to support the human activities, as a system of increasing the “productive hours” and the safety at night. However, in contemporary cities, it is still a difficult issue to solve in terms of safety or social aspects. It is known, that even in public spaces the lighting system is not same for all the citizens. An example could be how they design and how much effort they put in the public spaces in richer areas comparing to the suburbs. Moreover, regarding the design, it is not only the quality it is also the inequalities they generate. It can be very exclusive, because they can frame the precarity and show it through the lighting infrastructure.

Using the flows of circulation in the study case, we can see the different social groups and agents that take act in the square. These flows are defined by the fact how people move due to their freedom of moving, in other words, people walk in the space that it is designed for them, but they cannot choose it. Dark spaces are meant to be for men or street dwellers, anyway men as well. On the other hand, women struggle to find the light and follow it to feel safer. Moreover, they rarely stop and gather in this space, they always circulate to avoid the possibility of confronting a dangerous situation. Obviously, this is not only a consequence of the light, because in other cities this episode could be very rare or even worse, but it is supported by the lighting infrastructure, which strong the power of those who already have it and show the vulnerability of the minorities or groups in “danger”. What’s the solution of this issue? I do not think it would be solved by lighting more every street or square, I think it should be a better design of the public space and the lighting infrastructure who should take part on this.

“The dependency on human and other creatures on infrastructural support exposes a specific vulnerability that we have when we are unsupported. All actions need support, an infrastructural condition that supports the acting body”




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