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Innovative policies for improving citizens’ health and wellbeing addressing indoor and outdoor lighting

Project description

Mitigating the impact of artificial light on health

The modern urban environment has impacted human life in many ways, both positively and negatively. An often overlooked aspect of urbanisation is increased exposure to artificial light. Various artificial light sources can negatively impact the human circadian rhythm – our body's natural biological clock – which can in turn affect sleep, metabolism and immune system function. The EU-funded ENLIGHTENme project will collect a wide range of data to assess the impact of artificial light on human health and well-being; the information will then be used to create a framework of best practices for urban outdoor and indoor lighting. The goal is to develop guidelines to inform policy and the implementation of smart lighting systems, improving citizens’ health and well-being in European cities.


A major, albeit underestimated, by-product of urbanization is the exponential increase of human exposure to artificial light. Outdoor illumination, artificial sky glow, domestic lighting, light-emitting screens, etc. entrain circadian clock. Despite scientific evidence on the pathogenic role of circadian rhythms disruption in predisposing to NCDs, affecting sleep, metabolism, immune function and many aspects of behavior and mood, EU cities are mostly focusing on improving lighting services’ efficiency, reducing costs and emissions, but failing to consider lighting impacts on health and wellbeing.

Through an open-online Urban Lighting and Health Atlas, ENLIGHTENme will collect and systematize existing data and good practices on urban lighting and will perform an accurate study on the correlations among health, wellbeing, lighting and socio-economic factors in 3 pilot cities -Amsterdam, Bologna and Tartu, where a target district will be selected due to its exposure to artificial light and to reflect social inequalities. Through the establishment of Lighting Urban Labs within the district, citizens and stakeholders will co-create innovative Lighting Urban Plans measures and define the implementation of a smart outdoor lighting system and indoor lighting changes in a pilot area within the district. There, a population-based study on elderly – addressed as a vulnerable group particularly prone to suffer circadian misalignment – will allow to assess lighting-dependent risks on mental and health conditions and surveys involving the overall district population and users will allow assess the impacts of urban lighting on quality of life and wellbeing.

The results will allow to develop a dedicated Decision Support System and guidelines and recommendation on the impact of lighting on health and wellbeing, proposing innovative lighting policies, measures, technologies and interventions aiming at improving citizens’ health and wellbeing in cities. ENLIGHTENme is a part of the European Cluster on Urban Health.

Call for proposal


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Sub call




Net EU contribution
€ 515 687,50
Via zamboni 33
40126 Bologna

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Nord-Est Emilia-Romagna Bologna
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (21)