|Front entrance to a Boulder neighborhood high school|
Sauntering through a neighborhood one evening last week I photographed the high school pictured in these photos. High pressure sodium, it seems, is the lighting of choice. I have written about the visual appeal of sodium lights when bounced off brick walls. While lighting at this school was uneven with blind spots, it did allow nearby residents and strollers to view the school. The warm color was attractive for evening walkers.
This lights-on approach is popular in many schools.
|Brick color shows well with sodium lighting, but uneven spread increases blind spots|
Cringing at that, the Dark Sky Society argues for lights-off citing how some schools reduce crime at schools by turning lights out.
Lights-off also shows up in a booklet on CPTED Fundamentals for Schools by CPTED expert Tod Schneider. Tod writes:
Sometimes good lighting attracts misbehavior, while darkness drives people away. Many schools have gone to darkened campuses for this reason. School resource officers have found that good lighting made schools ideal hangouts after hours, while darkness discouraged kids from congregating
|To light or not to light?|
Ultimately, lights-on or lights-off depends on neighborhood context because the by-stander effect may make all the difference. Some neighborhoods are just not that connected to their schools and residents are unlikely to walk by, or look at, a well lit school.
Though I wonder, isn't that less about lighting and more about neighborhood culture?