Our first presentation to the mass public.
Light.Func was accepted as one of the representative Tanzanian born design firms to speak on the issue of Smart Lighting.
Having vast knowledge accrued mostly from experience in the fast-paced Middle East environment, Sakina Dugawalla, Principal & Founder of Light.Func embraced the opportunity wholly.
The synopsis of the talk, entitled Smart Lighting, was going back to basics, by trying to explain the initial aspect of light as a subject. Technically speaking, our eye has evolved in such a way (some people call it evolution and some a characteristic that was bestowed upon us by a greater power), that it can discern the visible spectrum of the electromagnetic waves produced by the sun. What we all forget is that the visible spectrum only exists because it can be discerned by the physical characteristics of the eye; and yet in turn, we are only able to discern our surroundings specifically thanks to the visible spectrum. She coins this the ultimate dependent relationship. The audience was quite pleasantly surprised with this take on light.
Light is necessity, light is survival and light is creativity. In this instance, she concentrated in substituting lighting design with the word light, because, being a relatively primitive subject, in an also just as primitive environment, her task to hand was to explain to the audience what Smart Lighting was about, and what better way to do it than to use laymen terminologies.
The EA summit is the only of its kind, that ran in conjunction with the Construction Expo organised by Mikono Speakers. Thanks to the venue and the regional presumptions, Sakina therefore decided to take the topic into context of the regional fabric.
Her presentation was a result of a lot of research that was undertaken on the region itself, on the issues of economy, social, environmental and humancentric needs and realities. She believes that we are lucky to have had the advancement in technology as is seen in the last decade and a half thanks to the development of LED fixtures, new controls and even renewable energy resources; however, she believes that technology is now dictating the pace at which our daily lives should be affected and even led. In a country where the majority of the population still lives on the brink if not under the poverty line, one can access unlimited 3g/4g network data for a mere 5 USD a week – yes, it is a great achievement, but is it relevant to the average East African?
The demographic shows a huge population of young people, with the average age being 17 years, a population that is expected to almost double in 25 years, so she asked herself and the audience, what will the younger generation do? Without consulting studies, just looking at her family alone & relying on common sense, she deemed that the majority of our daylight hours are spent working, with relaxation occurring after dusk – so what are the youngsters going to do after dusk? Understandably due to the current state of global economic climate, quite a few issues have arisen, crime being one of them.
When we look at just Tanzania as a case study, an otherwise peaceful region, how do we implement safety – safety for commuters, for children, for the adolescent generation? Mrs. Bhakti Shah, who runs Impact Afya in Tanzania gave a good statistical study of the top 10 causes of death and injury in our Tanzania – no. 9 were Road Injuries, out of which some of the causes was bad lighting and even lack of lighting. UN statistics say that by 2008 50% of the world’s population lived in urban areas, 70% by 2050. If we take the same mass of population and place it in our urban cities, how can we provide a better lifestyle?
Yes, lighting is a very small part of the equation, but it is in fact one of the most crucial, right up there with issues like sanitation and droughts. Light can bring solace to families and a better quality of life so that there is continuity to our evolution by engaging each other socially. Cutlurally, East Africans are family-orientated and even the glimmer of candlelight can bring a group of people together so they have something else to occupy themselves within an otherwise dark environment.
So, her presentation concentrated on how we can implement smart lighting in a region where electricity is still marred with shortages on supply, an economy which is still developing, a rainbow of cultures that exist together in harmony but still have their differences, a population that far surpasses the supply (of land and energy). She concentrated on one thing and one thing only: that each lighting solution that is developed, before being accepted, should be questioned, “How is this solution relevant to me, my family, my society and my culture? What is the purpose?”
Smart Lighting in emerging Smart Cities has to first consider the population for which it is targeting and find a solution that is relevant based on the humancentric needs of that population, the economic viability, the technological relevance and environmental ramifications.
Africa for the most part is protected under the Dark Sky environment. All lighting solutions should take this into account. Where developed countries are looking at reducing light pollution, Africa should keep itself safe by maintaining its lack of contribution to the light pollution issue.
Please feel free to access the power point presentation by clicking on the icon .
The slideshow is for educational purposes and is the intellectual property of Light.Func DWC-LLC. It may not be reproduced or utilised for commercial gain.
more to come