© Serge van den Berg/Verse Beeldwaren - the streets of Eindhoven

Eindhoven, City of Light

The Dutch city of Eindhoven has just adopted a new LED lighting system that adapts to the lives of residents. It’s smart, sustainable and fun.

Wandering the streets of Eindhoven for the first time, you get an odd feeling. The lights flash on as you pass and follow you along your entire walk. They change with your movements, shading from one color to another and projecting lines and moving signs onto the sidewalks. And once the street is empty again, the lights turn off automatically, awaiting the next pedestrian or driver.

Eindhoven’s new lighting system detects activity by vehicles and pedestrians using sensors and wireless technology. The streetlights are computer-operated, and each one can be individually controlled. As a result, the city is able to reduce its energy costs and CO2 emissions without compromising on safety.

Eindhoven’s lighting is friendlier to the environment, but it’s also smarter and more fun. It offers a special experience for those in the city, one that can be tailored to residents’ habits, creating a certain atmosphere for specific locations such as a neighborhood, a street with a family restaurant or a square where neighbors like to walk their dog. “A sustainable environment is one that's not just energy-efficient but also one where people enjoy being,” says Serge van den Berg of Het Energie Bureau. The streetlights even adjust to the weather: if a major storm is imminent, red lights alert residents.

Eindhoven, the “City of Light” of the North, is the birthplace of the Philips Group and has played a key role in the development of the company’s major inventions. Known as the Dutch Silicon Valley, Eindhoven is a testing ground for experimentation in both the arts (such as the Light-S program) and technology, and was named the most innovative city of 2013 by Forbes magazine. Eindhoven’s municipal government has given great thought to the future of light and the role of urban public lighting. How can it made smarter, more sustainable and more enjoyable? How can lighting be adapted to the ways people move and behave, rather than vice versa? How can it be used to generate new experiences?

Next year, Eindhoven will likely emerge as a real hotspot: UNESCO has declared 2015 the International Year of Light.

To learn more:

- Illuminating cities with sustainable smart lighting systems

Main picture: © Serge van den Berg/Verse Beeldwaren - the streets of Eindhoven

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