Morals from TNT: Good or Bad is All About Feeling

To identify something “good” can be done according to various criteria, while searching for a “lighting hero” is not an exception. We had a report about how the TNT Night Watching Tour carries; after you read that article, you may wonder about the most crucial criterion mentioned by all those TNT members – HOW YOU FEEL. “They are detectives anyway,” you may ask. ”How can a detective search for heroes or villains by feeling?” Well, it’s time to tell you why feeling matters.

As we reported, there were five teams investigated five separate areas in Taipei City respectively. Most of these areas are so busy that it was not difficult to find targets; however, there was one area exceptional – the Chingtien Community (青田社區), a community constituted mostly by residences. Although there are some distinctive shops, restaurants and café, it is still not quite correct to call it a commercial area so the lighting condition there is very different from other four areas. Yet the team members had managed to figure out a very trivial but exceptional perspective: street lighting.

Draft panel done by students.

They acutely discovered the different effects between various street lighting poles in the residential community and tried to set some criteria for recognizing good and evil. Hence, their first question to their TNT teacher on 20th September was: How to judge the lighting a good or bad one? Their teacher, Professor Jan S Ejhed from KTH, gave three clear standards: visibility, atmosphere and spaciousness. For the visibility standard, “you can decide it by how do you see things,” explained Ejhed. “The atmosphere indicates how you feel and the spaciousness means how light lit up there.”Still, Ejhed suggested students to give percentage to all these criteria basing on their own opinions; adding new criteria for evaluation is also great. He pointed out something objective, the photometric data, and explained that the number doesn’t make any sense without someone’s feeling on it.

Accordingly, those objective standards can’t be regarded as a perfect evaluation for good or bad lighting. For example, almost every lamp in the Chingtien Community focuses on lighting function rather than senses of beauty because sufficient lighting is necessary for a safety and it naturally became the top criterion of lighting judgement. However, safety is not only about brightness but also about the atmosphere lamps offer; in other words, a good residential lighting must be a condition that provides “comfortable circumstance” even it is mostly about lighting function. Ejhad noted: “That’s why we pay so many attentions on your night watching tours.” When students having their tours, discussing what they observed, taking photos or drawing sketches, all these activities are interactions with the lighting environment and can help them give solutions to problems they found. “There is a social aspect of lighting,” emphasized by another TNT member. If there were only one person observing, a subjective judgement came; if there were people discussing, it came up with a “status” everyone consented.

Both with people and with the environment, interactions are too crucial to ignore. Consequently, the criteria of good or bad lighting are not rigid but fixable from situations, and this is why street lighting important to this community for only adequate street light can offer sufficient as well as safe lighting without intervening residents’ daily life at night. “It is about if it does a good lighting ‘job’ or not,” Ejhad indicated, and “good lighting job” means how you feel for “good” is a value judgement. The team members expressed they “don’t like ugly lighting fixtures and offensive street lights” and we can obviously insight what matters.

A "villain" -- although the street light is very bright, it intervene the residents who live in the second floor.
There are many old-styled houses in this community and the "heroes" for them are all different.

Good lighting doesn’t emerge from elegant lighting luminaires or expensive controlling system and brightness is neither the only nor the top thing. The TNT Night Watching Tour emphasizes on observation and interaction – and they are both about feeling -- because a correct awareness about lighting condition is the only path to a good lighting world.

Is this a good or a bad lighting to you? It's up to your feeling.


Related Post:Interacting with light over observation – TNT Night Watching Tour in Taipei

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