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Thesis (M. Arch.)—University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 1969. School of Architecture.


Copyright 1969, the author. Used by permission.


Man, as a rule, does not have a well developed sense of hearing and smell; he is predominately a visual being. As a predominately visual being he is more strongly affected by light than any other sensation. To perform tasks, to have a sense of well being and security, and to experience his environment man relies most heavily on his visual senses. All of these conditions strongly rely on one element—light.

The technical developments in electric lighting and the increasing economies and availabilities of electricity have led to unprecedented use of this type of lighting. We are today, with these advancements, in a position to visually utilize spaces as easily at night as we can during the day.

The lighting designer today, with this freedom, is confronted with many decisions regarding the use of light. If we have economical electrical power available and if we can now manipulate and control the light how should we use it? What problems are we trying to solve? What goals are we trying to achieve?

This paper is directed to the discussion and consideration of these questions as they pertain to the design of exterior pedestrian lighting.

The topics of visibility and the human eye; security especially in pedestrian areas; mood and color; direction and movement; spaces and lamp type and their aesthetic characteristics are discussed. The paper goes on to argue that there is an indication that the condition of the physical environment has an effect on people and discusses the damages of what is called “sensory deprivation and restriction”, noting also several studies done on sensory deprivation and lighting.

Among the authors conclusions it that in order for lighting design to produce a physical environment that will be of benefit to the improvement of the total environment, emphasis has to be on the physical and psychological welfare of people and not on the search for a system which has as its ultimate goal economy and efficiency alone.

Advisor: Murlin R. Hodgell