Articles

World night map = FAKE?? [Article from Domus]

In Uncategorized on October 2, 2010 by mradw

• There is an image famous among scholars of the contemporary city. perhaps the most famous of all (thanks to the work of architects and town-planners such as Stefano Boeri and Bernardo Secchi) that presents a “Iuminous map” ofthe planet’s cities in a nocturnal satellite photograph. In actual fact. it’s a fake. on at least two counts The first is that as it is a projection oft he entire terrestrial globe. the image is course made up of a series of different nocturnal photos that are assembled to get her to create a paradoxical (as well as poetic) “planetary night”.

The second false aspect. that is also the reason why the image is so widespread among contemporary town-planners is the visual proof of the existence of the phenomenon of “urban dispersion” or the “diffused city”. It is a kind of city that goes beyond its own limits. however mega they are. and is fused and confused in immense new inhabited configurations – the city of Europe. The city of the East Coast of America. And so on – transforming the actual cities in their various areas. So much attention has been given to this image (the visual and the theoretical one) that we often forget to consider a second ‘ map’ that is something of a projection of the great global luminous city: the map of the sky

The suggestion to do so comes from astrophysicists such as Gianluca Masi of Rome University. for whom the famous satellite photograph is above all a negative “Iitmus test” for seeing the light pollution produced by cities. The image seen ofthe sky. Masi explains. Has in recent years been completely altered by the increase in artificial light: since 2003 it has been recognised by Unisco as a heritage of humanity. One could also say that the urban landscape now also extends to the sky. Encompassing it in a’single low contrast “territory “. Not all light sources however contribute to this phenomenon. onlythose that cause “dispersion – in this case – of light”: in other words that do not direct the beam in a precise and punctual way. Faithful to geometry. to a design. Contrast to ddfslight pollution thus takes on a diverse connotation and calls into play the sustainable principle of energy saving. technological innovation. and why not. the originality of industrial design in conceiving precise and punctual solutions.

At first glance. the idea would seem to be limited to large outdoor areas. exactly those ones now achieved – as has already been the case with interiors – by the revolution of LEDs and the consequent rewriting of the codes of lightingdesign.ln reality light dispersion also comes from inhabited spaces. public and private interiors: it is not something that is so much to do with the use and nature of illuminated places as with the “nature” of the gesture that designs and orientates light. According to some maps. the ancient Maya cities were designed based on the position of the stars: today perhaps we can do the exact opposite.

by Guido Musante

Domus 939 maps of the mayas the design of the light can affect the look of the city and the design of the city the look of the sky

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