Innovative policies for improving citizens’ health and wellbeing addressing indoor and outdoor lighting
Innovative policies for improving citizens’ health and wellbeing addressing indoor and outdoor lighting
Innovative policies for improving citizens’ health and wellbeing addressing indoor and outdoor lighting
Innovative policies for improving citizens’ health and wellbeing addressing indoor and outdoor lighting

The ENLIGHTENme study – a citizen science approach

Everyone can get involved in science. Public participation in scientific research is becoming more and more important for a better understanding of science and its benefit to society. ENLIGHTENme relies on people like you to advance the scientific research in how lighting affects citizens’ health and wellbeing.

Please read a little more about the background of the ENLIGHTENme project and the study by clicking on the +:

  • Why ENLIGHTENme conducts this study

    A major, albeit substantially underestimated, byproduct of urbanisation has been the growing exposure of people to electric light at night. In addition to public outdoor illumination and the artificial sky glow created by highly urbanised areas, people are also increasingly exposed to light at the individual level. This includes domestic lighting and light-emitting screens through computers, smartphones, etc. The available scientific evidence suggests that inappropriate and disruptive light exposure at night or too little exposure during the day could impact people’s biological rhythms. In turn, this may have a substantial effect on health and wellbeing and even play a role in the occurrence of common chronic conditions. Adults over 65 years of age seem to be particularly prone to such impact.

    Moreover, light shapes urban spaces and social life, whether at home or in public spaces, thus affecting people’s behaviour, mood, sense of security as well as social relationships. Lighting can increase people’s sense of trust towards a city and their fellow citizens, thus encouraging people to remain and to interact with each other, as well as encouraging group social activities within the urban community.

    Furthermore, lighting disproportionately impacts older adults’ lives in terms of access to public space and participation in civic life, and through the quality of indoor spaces in which they spend more time than younger adults.

    Although there is an increasing public awareness of light-related health and wellbeing issues, lighting policies and investment strategies still focus on cost, energy efficiency, safety or city-branding. There is even less understanding of how social inequalities affect health impacts derived from urban lighting

    For this reason, the ENLIGHTENme project aims at collecting evidence about outdoor and indoor lighting’s impact on human health and wellbeing, through the development and testing of innovative solutions and policies that will also counteract health inequalities in European cities. In particular, ENLIGHTENme will perform an accurate study on the link between health, wellbeing, lighting and socio-economic factors in three pilot cities (Amsterdam, Bologna and Tartu), where a target district will be selected due to its exposure to artificial light and to reflect social inequalities.

For a detailed overview of the study and the course of action, please read more below by clicking on the +:

  • Study details and timeline

    The ENLIGHTENme study will run from September 2022 until March 2024 through different phases:

    September 2022 – November 2022: enrolment period

    During these months you are likely to encounter further information on the study in the three participating cities Bologna, Tartu and Amsterdam through flyers, poster and various talks.

    If you fulfil the following criteria, you are welcome to enrol and register your participation:

    • Living in Savena, Bologna; Annelinna, Tartu; Wildeman neighbourhood or another neighbourhood in Nieuw-West, Amsterdam
    • Age 65 or over
    • Able to dedicate a few hours of your time in January 2023 and then again in January 2024.

    All registered participants will then be randomly assigned to one of two groups: one ‘intervention group’ and one ‘control group’. Participants in the ‘intervention group’ will receive a special lamp to be placed in their home for one year, while those in the ‘control group’ will not. People in both groups are then required to do the same series of assessments, explained below, twice: at the beginning (January 2023) and at the end (March 2024) of the study.

    Beginning of January 2023: study instructions

    After you have formally enrolled in the study, a researcher will give you detailed instructions on the course of the study. He/she will guide you through every step of the study and provide instructions on how and when to use the study materials. You are also encouraged to ask any questions you may have during this meeting.

    Mid-January 2023: first assessment

    The first assessment will take two weeks and starts during mid-January. During these two weeks you will perform several tasks. This includes:

    • To fill out one survey on wellbeing and health (estimated time: 20-30 minutes).
    • To fill out short daily surveys on your daily activities (eating, sleeping, going out) for fourteen days.
    • To take one DNA sample.
    • Take seven saliva samples, one per hour, during one evening starting 5 hours prior to your usual bedtime. This serves the melatonin collection.
    • The to wear a bracelet (wrist actigraph) and a brooch for fourteen days to record the indoor and outdoor light exposure.

    You will be easily able to perform all the tasks at home by yourself. You will have received instructions during your initial meeting.

    After the two weeks, you submit all the collected materials.

    Beginning of April 2023: intervention period

    During the intervention period we will have two groups of participants: those who were given an indoor lamp and participants who were not given an indoor lamp. At the start of the intervention period the participants with an indoor lamp will receive information on how to install and use the lamp. The participants without an indoor lamp are asked not to make changes to the way they light their homes. In addition to this, there will be a change in outdoor lighting in the respective study areas. These changes in indoor and outdoor lighting will be implemented for one year. During this time, you will only have to fill out one survey on wellbeing and health after six months. You will not have to do anything else for the study during this period.

    Mid-January 2024: second assessment

    In preparation of the second assessment, all participants will again be invited to a group meeting. We will use this session to refresh participant’s memory on the instructions and to provide them with the study materials.

    The second assessment is similar to the first assessment. An overview of the tasks can be found below:

    • To fill out one survey on wellbeing and health (estimated time: 20-30 minutes)
    • To fill out short daily surveys on your daily activities (eating, sleeping, going out) for fourteen days.
    • Take seven saliva samples, one per hour, during one evening starting 5 hours prior to your usual bedtime. This serves the melatonin collection.
    • To wear a bracelet (wrist actigraph) and a brooch for fourteen days to record the indoor and outdoor light exposure.

    After the study

    After the second assessment, the study is over. The participants who are interested can register to receive their results of the assessments.

For participating in the study in one of the three ENLIGHTENme cities, please view the pages dedicted the study in Bologna, Tartu or Amsterdam.