The Night and Its Loss

  • Merle PottharstEmail author
  • Benjamin Könecke
Part of the Urban and Landscape Perspectives book series (URBANLAND, volume 15)


Artificial lighting is both a precondition and a consequence of the 24-hour society. It makes public spaces safer, allows a range of economic and social activities at night and influences the way goods production and services, buildings and entire cities are organised. Despite these achievements, from early on, critical voices have drawn attention to the negative impact of artificial lighting on humans, animals, cityscapes, landscapes and energy consumption. This has recently culminated in growing criticism of ‘light pollution’. This chapter investigates from a socioeconomic perspective the economic and social functions of artificial light, on the one hand, and the ‘loss of the night’, on the other, and outlines a preliminary taxonomy of relevant positive and negative effects of nocturnal artificial light. It is part of a joint research project on the ‘loss of the night’, which aims to develop new concepts of lighting to reduce light pollution.


Night Artificial lighting 24-hour society Costs Benefits Value of the night 



The authors will gladly provide in-depth information and an account of the progress of the research project. Alternatively, the website provides additional information.


  1. Auer G (1997) Overexposed cities. Topos 20:6–14Google Scholar
  2. Bayer AG (2010) BAYNEWS: Bayer-Kreuz wird vorübergehend abgeschaltet. Accessed 8 Mar 2011
  3. Beier P (2006) Effects of artificial night lighting on terrestrial mammals. In: Rich C, Longcore T (eds) Ecological consequences of artificial night lighting. Island Press, Washington, DC, pp 19–42Google Scholar
  4. Beyer FR, Ker K (2009) Street lighting for preventing road traffic injuries. In: The Cochrane Collaboration (ed) Cochrane database of systematic reviews. Wiley, ChichesterGoogle Scholar
  5. Blask DE, Brainard GC, Dauchy RT et al (2005) Melatonin-depleted blood from premenopausal women exposed to light at night stimulates growth of human breast cancer xenografts in nude rats. Cancer Res 65(23):11174–11184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Briggs WR (2006) Physiology of plant responses to artificial lighting. In: Rich C, Longcore CT (eds) Ecological consequences of artificial night lighting. Island Press, Washington, DC, pp 389–411Google Scholar
  7. Brüning A, Hölker F, Wolter C (2011) Artificial light at night: implications for early life stages development in four temperate freshwater fish species. Aquat Sci Res Across Bound 73(1):143–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chepesiuk R (2009) Missing the dark: health effects of light pollution. Environ Health Perspect 117(1):A20–A27Google Scholar
  9. Eisenbeis G (2009) Insekten und künstliches Licht. In: Posch T, Freyhoff A, Uhlmann T (eds) Das Ende der Nacht: Die globale Lichtverschmutzung und ihre Folgen. Wiley-VCH Verlag, Weinheim, pp 61–80Google Scholar
  10. Evans Ogden LJ (1996) Collision Course: the hazards of lighted structures and windows to migrating birds. A special report for World Wildlife Fund Canada and the Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP). University of Nebraska, LincolnGoogle Scholar
  11. Fonken LK, Workman JL, Walton JC et al (2010) Light at night increases body mass by shifting the time of food intake. Proc Natl Acad Sci 107(43):18664–18669CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hänel A (2010) Lichtverschmutzung in Mitteleuropa. In: Posch T, Freyhoff A, Uhlmann T (eds) Das Ende der Nacht: Die globale Lichtverschmutzung und ihre Folgen. Wiley-VCH Verlag, Weinheim, pp 41–59Google Scholar
  13. Hasenöhrl U, Schwope A (2009) Zauber, Geahr und Gefährdung der Nacht. In: Leibniz-Gemeinschaft (ed) Zwischenruf – Verlust der Nacht. Bonn, p 38Google Scholar
  14. Hattenbach J (2010) Der Sternenhimmel als Welterbe. In: Himmelslichter: Ein Blog über alles, was am Himmel passiert. Accessed 13 Mar 2012
  15. Health Council of the Netherlands (ed) (2000) Impact of outdoor lighting on man and nature. Gezondheidsraad, Den HaagGoogle Scholar
  16. Henckel D (2009) Stad(t)tnacht? In: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Zeitpolitik (ed) Das Zeitpolitisches Magazin 6(15):4–5Google Scholar
  17. Henckel D, Moss T (2010) The illuminated city. In: Hölker F, Tockner K (eds) Loss of the night: transdisciplinary research on light pollution. Leibniz-Gemeinschaft, Berlin, pp 12–13Google Scholar
  18. Kantermann T, Roenneberg T (2009) Is light-at-night a health risk factor or a health risk predictor? Chronobiol Int 26(6):1069–1074Google Scholar
  19. Knight C (2010) Field surveys of the effect of lamp spectrum on the perception of safety and comfort at night. Light Res Technol 42(4):313–329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Köhler D (2009) Artificially enlightened urban spaces at night – a matter of special importance for liveable cities. In: Széll G, Széll U (eds) Quality of life & working life in comparison. Peter Lang Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, pp 323–339Google Scholar
  21. – Fördergemeinschaft Gutes Licht (ed) (2002) Stadtmarketing mit Licht. licht.wissen, Frankfurt am MainGoogle Scholar
  22. Lovatt A, O’Connor J (1995) Cities and the night-time economy. Plan Pract Res 10(2):127–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Marchant P (2004) A demonstration that the claim that brighter lighting reduces crime is unfounded. Br J Criminol 44(3):441–447CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Melbin M (1987) Night as frontier: colonizing the world after dark. Free Press & Collier Macmillan, New York/LondonGoogle Scholar
  25. Nemiroff R, Bonnell J (2011) Starry night over Dubai. NASA, Astronomy Picture of the Day. Accessed 30 Apr 2012
  26. Nightingale B, Longcore T, Simenstad C (2006) Artificial night lighting and fishes. In: Rich C, Longcore T (eds) Ecological consequences of artificial night lighting. Island Press, Washington, DC, pp 257–276Google Scholar
  27. Painter K (1996) The influence of street lighting improvements on crime, fear and pedestrian street use, after dark. Landsc Urban Plann 35(2–3):193–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Painter K (1999) Surveillance of public space: CCTV, street lighting and crime prevention. Criminal Justice Press, MonseyGoogle Scholar
  29. Pease K (1999) A review of street lighting evaluations: crime reduction effects. In: Painter K, Tilley N (eds) Surveillance of public space: CCTV, street lighting and crime prevention, Crime prevention studies, 10. Criminal Justice Press, Monsey, pp 47–76Google Scholar
  30. Poot H, Ens BJ, de Vries H et al (2008) Green light for nocturnally migrating birds. Ecol Soc 13(2):47Google Scholar
  31. Reinboth C (2009) Bericht vom Fachgespräch Lichtverschmutzung der Grünen Bundestagsfraktion. lichtverschmutzung-der-grunen-bundestagsfraktion/. Accessed 3 Oct 2011Google Scholar
  32. Ringwald R, Bauer A (2009) Stadtbeleuchtung: Rechtssichere Vertragsgestaltung. On the conference: ZVEI–Roadshow: “Kommunale Beleuchtung” on 5 Feb 2009 in Budenheim/MainzGoogle Scholar
  33. Schwope A, Hasenöhrl U (2010) Enchantment and threat of the night. In: Hölker F, Tockner K (eds) Loss of the night: Transdisciplinary research on Light Pollution. Leibniz-Gemeinschaft, Berlin, pp 6–7Google Scholar
  34. Shefer D, Stroumsa J (1982) Street-lighting projects selection: a rational decision making approach. Socioecon Plann Sci 16(6):245–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Stevens RG, Blask DE, Brainard GC et al (2007) Meeting report: the role of environmental lighting and circadian disruption in cancer and other diseases. Environ Health Perspect 115(9):1357–1362CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Straif K, Baan R, Grosse Y et al (2007) Carcinogenicity of shift-work, painting, and fire-fighting. Lancet Oncol 8(12):1065–1066CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Teikari P (ed) (2007) Light pollution: definition, legislation, measurement, modelling and environmental effects. Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, BarcelonaGoogle Scholar
  38. Ville de Lyon (ed) (2011) Plan Lumière. Accessed 22 Nov 2010
  39. Zulley J, Knab B (eds) (2009) Unsere Innere Uhr. Natürliche Rhythmen nutzen und der Non-Stop-Belastung entgehen. Mabuse-Verlag, Frankfurt am MainGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Stadt- und RegionalplanungTechnische Universität BerlinBerlinGermany

Personalised recommendations