Digital Lighting and the Responsive City

Digital Lighting and the Responsive City
IHCD Lunch & Learn Lecture
Wednesday September 19, 2012 at 12 pm
200 Portland Street, Boston, MA  02114

2008 marked a watershed year. More than half the world's population was living in towns and cities and for the first time more objects than people were connected to the Internet. These two trends go hand in hand: The more people live in urban areas, the more networks and sensors follow. Intelligent infrastructures impact cities from the top down and the bottom up. Municipalities are pursuing many opportunities for improving city services and responding to citizens' needs in real-time. At the same time, citizens are using technologies such as mobile devices in new ways to navigate their cities and access resources.

Digital lighting is a natural extension of the infrastructures emerging around us because it seamlessly integrates with other intelligent systems. Time-based changes have always played an important role in lighting design. Increasingly, digital controls allow lighting to respond in an even more fine-grained way to the metabolism of different environments. Lynch's question "What Time is This Place" (1976) suddenly takes on a renewed importance for lighting design in urban environments. What new possibilities for placemaking are emerging? How can lighting continue to shape safe and inviting urban spaces for the 21st century? We'll explore theories, approaches and examples.

Speaker Bio:
Susanne Seitinger, City Innovations Manager for Philips Color Kinetics, is responsible for leading the research and strategy around the impact of programmable LED lighting elements to create safe, inviting and responsive urban environments. Her combined background in architecture, urban planning and human-computer interaction is comprised of research and design projects like the Digital Mile in Zaragoza, Spain and Urban Pixels, wireless LED pixels for ad-hoc media fa├žades. LightBridge, her most recent project in honor of MIT's 150th anniversary in Cambridge, Massachusetts, used new configurations of low-resolution displays and sensor-activated urban screens to showcase the potential of responsive infrastructures in future urban lighting plans.

Susanne received a BA from Princeton University as well as a PhD, MS and MCP from MIT. Her PhD dissertation-Liberated Pixels: Alternative Narratives for Lighting Future Cities-explored the aesthetic and interactive potentials for future lighting and display infrastructures.

This event is free and open to the public. However, there is a $10 processing fee for those who wish to get AIA credit for the lecture. Lunch will be provided. To reserve a spot please email