Durham Light and Darkness Strategy

Durham, United Kingdom


Arts and Education

Strategy + Branding

Between 2005 and 2006, we prepared a major lighting strategy for Durham City Council, Durham County Council and One North East. This was informed by an original vision by David Locke Associates, which set out a sensitive redevelopment of this famous historic city for the new millennium.

Our study became known as the Light and Darkness Strategy. It was a pioneering approach in that we recognized that Durham’s remarkable night-time environment is as much determined by its dark, natural landscape as it is by the illumination of its iconic sites.

The strategy provided a creative and technical framework for the city to create an urban environment that is as charming and spectacular after dark as it is by day.

Our recommendations included upgrading all streetlighting, with delineation through colour temperature of primary and secondary roads; illuminating the city’s bridges; and creating an events infrastructure.

The vision showed how Durham could be re-lit over time, in a sustainable manner, to enhance the image of the city, provide safety and security, and facilitate the night-time economy. Light pollution would also be greatly reduced, providing a clear view of the night sky and avoiding any potentially adverse impacts on the local biodiversity.

This strategy was successfully unveiled in August 2007.

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