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Tonetti, Sofia, 2024. Recapturing the dark experience : encounters with natural darkness in Nordic settlements. Second cycle, A2E. Alnarp: SLU, Dept. of People and Society



Artificial light at night is recognized as an increasing environmental problem with some negative consequences for biodiversity, human health, and nature connection. We need to increase our understanding of how human beings experience natural darkness in their everyday life in order to understand its role in human settlements. This study draws on phenomenology in its approach to investigate the subjective experience of natural darkness in a Nordic context. Deep interviews were conducted with four participants in different settlements in order to explore the lived psychological meaning of darkness for them. The results illustrate the general psychological structure of this lived meaning of darkness for the four participants structured into six constituents: (1) Darkness creating supportive boundaries (2) Being in the present space and moment (3) Understanding nature and our place in the universe (4) The diversity of placed darkness (5) Feeling at home in darkness (6) Managing darkness. The discussion highlights the experiential values of experiencing natural darkness supportive to people’s attachment to their local environment as they develop competence to handle and embrace the experience. The results call for more attention of the diversity of human experiences of lightening and darkness and states in between, in order to clarify the meaning of natural darkness in different types of settlements. Transdisciplinary research could identify pathways to integrate the important role of experiencing natural darkness for human health and well-being. This perspective may open up new space for critical evaluation of existing strategies on light pollution and intervention in planning practices for settlements.

Main title:Recapturing the dark experience
Subtitle:encounters with natural darkness in Nordic settlements
Authors:Tonetti, Sofia
Supervisor:Mårtensson, Fredrika
Examiner:Bengtsson, Anna and Cerwén, Gunnar
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2024
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:LM007 Outdoor environments for health and well-being - Master's programme 120 HEC
Supervising department:(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of People and Society
Keywords:environmental psychology, darkness, extinction of experience, phenomenology, light pollution, place attachment, health promotion, well-being, Circadian rhythms, planning, landscape
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Deposited On:17 Jun 2024 07:25
Metadata Last Modified:18 Jun 2024 11:34

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