A Historical Perspective on Light Levels
Over time, we have often seen a shift in requirements within a culture or people. In the United States in the 50’s and 60’s, the popular adage was “more light, better sight.” When the OPEC energy crisis occurred in 1973, it required a serious re-examination of light levels and prompted many research excursions to show that we could work as efficiently in much less light.In the last 50 years, as other areas of the world have found prosperity and technology has become more affordable, traditional constructs of light and darkness have been replaced by grossly overlit spaces. The flip in perceptions is best highlighted by the following two quotes taken from two authors from two different parts of the world, quoting 75 years apart in time.
- “[W]e Orientals tend to seek our satisfactions in whatever surroundings we happen to find ourselves, to content ourselves with things as they are; and so darkness causes us no discontent, we resign ourselves to it as inevitable. If light is scarce then light is scarce; we will immerse ourselves in the darkness and there discover its own particular beauty. But the Westerner is determined always to better his lot. From candle to oil lamp, oil lamp to gaslight, gaslight to electric light – his quest for a brighter light never ceases, he spares no pains to eradicate even the minutest shadow
Jun’ichiro Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows, Japan (1933)
- “Some judicious use of shadow would help humanize our over-lit lives.”
Murray Whyte, Toronto Star, Canada (2008)
The Gartner Hype Cycle is a methodology that’s been used effectively by Gartner since 1995. The Hype Cycle provides a graphic representation of the maturity and adoption of technologies and applications, and how they are potentially relevant to solving real business problems and exploiting new opportunities. The Gartner Hype Cycle methodology gives you a view of how a technology or application will evolve over time, providing insight into managing its deployment within the context of specific business sector.
Diagram of Hype Cycle
A corollary to the Hype Cycle could be that the technology triggers happen in different parts of the world at different times, and they continue to propagate through their hype cycle at different rates. If ‘light levels used’ are seen as a function of technology and then mixed with economics to understand the speed of absorption, we can better understand why certain areas of the world have a propensity for higher light levels. It may also mean that the ‘light levels used’ in different parts of the world, based on their economic prowess, may be located on different parts of the Hype cycle.
This is an excerpt from Abhay Wadhwa’s Keynote speech at the World Lighting Congress 2012 titled The Impact of the Culture and Climate on Lighting Systems