A new innovation in street lighting has appeared in Glasgow, Scotland. In 1999 blue streetlights were installed in order to improve the overall aesthetics of the area as a part of a city enhancement program. During my design research for a graduate dissertation I investigated whether blue lights have any effect on people and if so, how they affect them.
As with prior research in CPTED, my hypothesis is that the environment in which we live can influence our behavior. It can inspire us to act in certain ways. My Glasgow case study offered the chance to experience the unique atmosphere of a blue-lit street. Some sources mentioned that the crime surprisingly dropped after blue lights were installed. However, since I could not find further statistics on blue lights in Glasgow, I decided to explore it on my own.
Even though crime reduction was not the initial purpose behind the installation, the street appeared to have a much calmer effect than surrounding streets with traditional sodium yellow/orange lighting.
I also learned following the Glasgow example, similar blue lights were installed in Japanese train stations. The number of suicides at Japanese train stations was high and increasing, but after the blue lights were installed the number dropped noticeably.
This reduction in suicides due to blue lights is spreading to other locations due to its positive results. Blue lights definitely provide a new tactic for designers looking to calm outdoor locations.