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Midnight Sun

What is interesting to me is how the progress of light technology allows humans to ‘colonise’ the night. Sometimes, this illumination serves to double the hours for work and pleasure. But this affects both animals and man for better and for worse. Urban lighting is undergoing a revolution alongside landscape development and trends. Singapore is a good case study of urban lighting. The city has installed street lamps every 5 metres along the roads, making it extremely well-lit at night. There are almost no dark areas at all. This creates a sense of security, and Singaporeans have no problem roaming the city at any time of the night.

The vibrant colours of the city at night are really interesting. This is not common in Madrid or London, where neon colours are only used to keep up with trends. Cities like Singapore, Seoul, Beijing, and Hong Kong have an eclectic mix of neon, fluorescent, incandescent, and LED lamps in an array of colours.

The most obvious advantage lies in the greater sense of security evoked by a well-lit environment. The lights ease movements during the night, making it safe and reassuring. For example, you can have a late dinner or supper and walk home in the middle of the night with no problems. There is no doubt that lights are essential to improving safety and crime prevention.

However, my research also points to the fact that light pollution can lead to serious and irreversible impacts on humans, plants, and animals. From retinal damage and skin cancer to sleep disruptions and increased carbon emissions, excessive use of lights can trigger a myriad of harmful effects. Yet, as I spend time observing the city, I grow more aware of how its inhabitants are oblivious to the risk of being exposed to the lights.

Apart from the images taken in Singapore or Hong Kong, I would like to continue this long-term project in cities where we find more light pollution, such as Seoul, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, or Los Angeles. I would like to create a visual map that would be a useful tool for public decision-makers who want to act decisively on this problematic phenomenon, as well as for citizens who wish to raise their levels of awareness.

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