Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Design in the Shadows?
View graph of relations

Design in the Shadows?: Advocacy and Creativity for the Nocturnal Commons

Research output: Contribution to conference - Without ISBN/ISSN Conference paper

Publication date3/03/2021
<mark>Original language</mark>English
EventFifteenth International Conference on Design Principles and Practices - Universidad de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico
Duration: 2/03/20215/03/2021


ConferenceFifteenth International Conference on Design Principles and Practices
Internet address


Urbanisation continues to provide habitat for more and more of the planet’s human population. Accompanying this process are the energy, transport, and service infrastructures that support urban life. Enmeshed in these networks is artificial illumination and its unintended consequences. Light pollution, for instance, accounts for a growing global carbon footprint, yet more efficient artificial lighting methods using LEDs have resulted in increasingly higher levels of brightness at night (Pawson & Bader, 2014). This is altering natural cycles of light and dark, directly impacting on the circadian rhythms of our bodies and having disastrous effects upon other species and their ecosystems. Where is design in addressing such poor performance? This issue of critical importance has been referred to by some scientists as the ‘hidden global challenge’ (Davies & Smyth, 2018) but the public awareness and understanding of it is negligible. The growing problem of how we perceive darkness and the attempts to manage it, typically through artificial illumination, requires new design strategies to create viable alternatives to current pathways (Dunn, 2019). How can we advocate for the ‘nocturnal commons’ (Gandy, 2017) when the majority of society does not even know what is disappearing or understand the implications? This paper, therefore, presents a new framing for design as advocacy through creativity to raise awareness of these complex issues and address them. In doing so, it calls for the important and urgent need for design to commit, act, and engage others in the future of our planet, its people, and non-human species.