Mapping lightscapes: spatial patterning of artificial lighting in an urban landscape

James Hale, Gemma Davies, Alison Fairbrass, Tom Matthews, Christopher Rogers, Jonathan Sadler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)
251 Downloads (Pure)


Artificial lighting is strongly associated with urbanisation and is increasing in its extent, brightness and spectral range. Changes in urban lighting have both positive and negative effects on city performance, yet little is known about how its character and magnitude vary across the urban landscape. A major barrier to related research, planning and governance has been the lack of lighting data at the city extent, particularly at a fine spatial resolution. Our aims were therefore to capture such data using aerial night photography and to undertake a case study of urban lighting. We present the finest scale multi-spectral lighting dataset available for an entire city and explore how lighting metrics vary with built density and land-use. We found positive relationships between artificial lighting indicators and built density at coarse spatial scales, whilst at a local level lighting varied with land-use. Manufacturing and housing are the primary land-use zones responsible for the city’s brightly lit areas, yet manufacturing sites are relatively rare within the city. Our data suggests that efforts to address light pollution should broaden their focus from residential street lighting to include security lighting within manufacturing areas.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere61460
Number of pages9
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2013


Dive into the research topics of 'Mapping lightscapes: spatial patterning of artificial lighting in an urban landscape'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this