Josiane Maria Meier


This paper takes into view the broad range of contemporary conflicts regarding outdoor lighting. It proposes a working-definition that allows for differentiating lighting conflicts from other forms of lighting-related contention, as well as an analytical framework that allows for the structured description of individual lighting conflicts, and the comparative analysis of multiple cases. The analytical framework was developed based on the social-scientific analysis of media reports of existing conflict cases in Europe and North America, and informed by existing knowledge from the fields of lighting and conflict studies. A central challenge for developing such a framework is dealing with the high level of contingency and complexity of lighting conflicts. The framework reduces this complexity by focusing its field of vision to those aspects that are directly related to the lighting and its contestation. For each of these aspects, it provides sets of descriptive variables that allow for describing the conflicts’ individuality in a standardized – and thus comparable – way. The framework strictly separates the regarded aspects from their judgment by the conflict parties, making it possible to contrast their views on one and the same lighting situation. A visual template supports the process of analysis. It allows for depicting individual cases in short, and for clearly identifying where perspectives differ. At the multiple-case level, the framework not only opens up possibilities for spatial and temporal comparisons of lighting conflicts and the subsequent development of typologies, but also for harnessing their potential for informing the development of more sustainable planning and policy approaches for artificial lighting.




lighting, conflict, contention, method, classification

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