The Victorian Government has provided $200,000 in funding for a project to test lighting design approaches to improve women’s feelings of safety in public spaces.  

The project has developed innovative lighting designs in consultation with women and gender diverse residents to inform upgrades to lighting infrastructure at a pilot site in Preston. It is being delivered by Darebin City Council in partnership with Arup, a consultancy service providing specialist lighting expertise. 

The site in Preston was selected based on the findings from the government’s 2018 Gender Equality Map pilot (External link). This pilot asked residents to record areas where they felt particularly unsafe, with the corner of Plenty Road and Tyler Street identified due to poor street lighting. 

Following the selection of the site, codesign workshops were held with residents and lighting engineers from Arup to develop creative lighting solutions for the area. These solutions will be shared with local business owners and then the preferred lighting solution will be installed on their shopfronts. 

This prototype aims to build a better understanding of women’s perceptions and experiences of safety at night, and how these can be improved through lighting.  These insights will be used to inform the development of future infrastructure projects in partnership with councils. 

Improved lighting can be an effective crime prevention solution as it can help people feel safer and encourage greater use of an area. Research shows that the experiences of women need to be considered in the design of built environments to ensure public spaces are inclusive and safe for all. 

The project will be completed in early 2021.