Impact & Innovation
- Robust evidence for policy making on improved urban health
ENLIGHTENme will present evidence on the impact of indoor and outdoor lighting on older adults’ health and wellbeing in order to inform policy and practice far beyond the lifetime of the project.
The Urban Lighting and Health multiscale platform will allow ENLIGHTENme to provide new evidence on the effects of urban lighting on citizen health and wellbeing through systemising existing knowledge and good practices at the global level, integrated by the evidences gathered through the pilot interventions in the three ENLIGHTENme cities, and the capability to represent the correlation between characteristics of urban areas, light exposure, socio-economic characteristics, urban patterns and health and wellbeing distribution at local scale. This knowledge will be available openly online through the ENLIGHTENme Open Atlas to anyone interested.
ENLIGHTENme will add new evidence on lighting-related physical and mental health conditions by testing an innovative smart lighting system and implementing co-created guidelines, and through assessing changes in specific circadian and sleep parameters before and after the intervention.
Furthermore, new evidence on the effects of innovative urban lighting policies on mental wellbeing and quality of life, taking into account a diverse set of vulnerable groups, will support innovative policies addressing indoor and outdoor lighting.
Organisational changes proposed within local administrations, introducing the role of the Healthy City Manager, will guarantee an integrated approach of sector policies towards improving urban health and wellbeing. The assessment of the cost-effectiveness of the proposed intervention will complement the provision of an evidence-based decision system and to the market uptake of the innovations.
- Improved physical and mental population health in EU urban areas
ENLIGHTENme will improve population health in European urban areas by correcting disruptions to the human biological clock in vulnerable groups such as the elderly due to indoor and outdoor artificial light exposure. This will significantly help in removing risk factors for cancer or major neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson and Alzheimer’s diseases as well as reducing depression and other mental health problems.
By developing a better definition of light conditions as risk factors and their previously underestimated impact on wellbeing, the project will contribute significantly to improving older adults’ health and quality of life.
- Reduced health inequalities in urban areas
ENLIGHTENme will be the first systematic study that connects indoor and outdoor lighting conditions, health statistics and socioeconomic inequality analysis, building a solid basis for more complex understanding of the light impacts on urban health and wellbeing.
ENLIGHTENme will address inequalities by considering various factors:
- geographical conditions - considering different latitudes and natural light exposures of the study cities, but also behaviours since people living at high latitude spend more time indoor than people in low ones,
- socio-economic characteristics,
- urban patterns,
- urban lighting,
- quality of indoor lighting in housing.
The resulting guidelines and the Decision Support System will permit to define intervention priorities within the cities combining economic, environmental and social issues, thus allowing to include issues related to health inequalities within urban policies. Through establishing Urban Lighting Labs citizens will co-design the lighting interventions to include particular needs of vulnerable groups, in particular older adults and women that are differently affected by issues such as security, safety, visual response, etc., and subsequently reduce health inequalities in the targeted districts.
Breaking down silos within municipal departments will allow incorporation of health concerns within different policies such as energy, urban planning, public works, housing, etc., thus addressing a wide range of determinants (income, housing, urban environment).
In the long term, the dissemination of resulting policy briefs and networking activities within the Health and Urban Lighting Advisory Board and at international events, will help to scale-up the innovative ENLIGHTENme solutions to many other cities in the EU and beyond, thus raising awareness of the need to tackle the issue of health inequalities. This will be supported by an awareness campaign aimed at the general public in order to reorganise individual home lighting and encourage behaviour changes to reduce adverse health and wellbeing effects.
ENLIGHTENme is the first systematic study that connects lighting conditions, health statistics and socioeconomic inequality analysis, allied with co-design and testing of lighting innovations. Through a transdisciplinary approach and involving older adults together with local stakeholders and experts within established Urban Lighting Labs in the co-design of lighting innovations, ENLIGHTENme will develop a novel approach to urban lighting policies and interventions. It will address the integration of health-related practices within political, administrative and governance structures while taking into account social divisions between unequal social demographics, commercial versus public stakeholders, and zoning and regulation of commercial and residential districts. ENLIGHTENme will fully deploy the smart city potential by implementing an intelligent street lighting control system that will allow controlling seamlessly not only energy and operational savings but also the effects on citizens’ health, wellbeing and quality of life.
ENLIGHTENme represents a step forward in the development of “social lighting” through close engagement of citizens through the Urban Lighting Labs into the interpretation and exploitation of the large amount of environmental data currently available. By defining innovative clinical methods and protocols to assess the impact of electric light on Circadian Rhythm entrainment and sleep, ENLIGHTENme establishes a starting point towards an evidence-based definition of a light-dependent risk on health and wellbeing. Throughout the project lifetime, the project consortium will be able to achieve outstanding milestones in several domains, in terms of novel concepts and approaches, new applications and operational innovations, new products and services, innovative knowledge, that will contribute to the achievement of ENLIGHTENme ground-breaking objective, as depicted in the graphic above.