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Addressing public lighting inequality through 5 key foci

Our mission

Considering life after dark in informal settlements is a component so often neglected when considering infrastructure provision. Together with communities, we aim to address public lighting inequalities by co-creating lighting strategies to improve everynight life. We consolidate knowledge and promote the use of decentralised solar lighting infrastructure as a means to provide more adequate, bottom-up public lighting that adapts to the unique needs of each community we work with. 

We have identified five key factors that require attention in public lighting solutions for informal settlements listed adjacent. 


A community of practice

Collectively, we are working in six informal settlements in Khayelitsha, Cape Town to address public lighting inequalities on the ground. Through forming a community of practice, our projects are able to collectively learn and grow, and form an evidence-base aiming to influence public lighting policy specific to informal settlements. ​​​​​​

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The value of participation and co-design and implementation have proved to be hugely beneficial in providing lighting solutions that adequately address a communities needs. We are further exploring the value of co-design by developing a lighting strategy for 400 wall-mounted solar lights in a community of 4000 households. 



We are conducting a cost-benefit analysis of lighting solutions in informal settlements to understand whether wall-mounted solar lights are an economically viable solution for the government to adopt. 

                                                  ECONOMIC VIABILITY                                                                                                                                                                    


After the successful implementation of wall-mounted lighting in PJS Informal Settlement in 2021, we aim to find viable solutions to support bottom-up maintenance and management of wall-mounted solar public lighting. Our hope is to demonstrate the benefit of bottom-up maintenance as a viable approach to managing state-provided infrastructure in informal settlements.

                                                  BOTTOM-UP MAINTENANCE                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              


Can decentralised solar lighting solutions be replicated at scale, making it more viable to be adopted as an official public lighting technology by the government? We are testing scaling-up wall-mounted solar lights through projects in four small informal settlements in Khayelitsha​



Installing high-quality, context-specific wall-mounted public solar lighting ​​is vital for the longevity of the infrastructure. Through each project, we try to refine the technical detailing of wall-mounted solar lights to manufacture lights that provide adequate light, are durable, easy to install yet theft resistant, and easy to maintain. 

                                                  TECHNICAL INNOVATION                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

about us
Projects group

Our Projects

the group

The Group

ETH Zurich

Stellenbosch University

People's Environmental Planning

PJS Leadership Committee

People's Environmental Planning

People's Environmental Planning

Transition Partners


Media and Publications

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Lighting for WA-Section

"Layita Khayelitsha" by inDrive 

Watch how Drive's "Layita Khayelitsha" campaign impacted the lives of around 400 people in WA-Section where members of LightUp and the community installed 75 wall-mounted solar lights. 



City official visit our flagship project

City of Cape Town, Media Office

The City is investigating solar powered lighting solutions for informal settlements and visited our flagship project in PJS informal settlement in Khayelitsha for a closer look at the current solar powered lighting project and future lighting prospects for the area. 

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Night in the informal city

by Yael Borofsky

A doctoral thesis looking at how limited public lighting infrastrucutre shapes life after dark in informal settlements, measuring the impact of an alternative public lighting solution. 

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Views & News on CapeTalk radio

Clarence Ford with Noah Schermbrucker

Radio presenter Clarence Ford interviews Noah Schermbrucker from People's Environmental Planning, on issues around public lighting  provision in informal settlements and the work we are doing in LightUp. 



There’s a way to sort out lighting in informal settlements

by Noah Schermbrucker

Solar powered public lights are better than high-mast lights, collaborative Cape Town project suggests, read more in this GroundUp article. 



Shadows to light

by Yael Borofsky

This article shares the project in PJS Informal Settlement and the process followed to install almost 800 solar lights during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Lighting informal settlements

Andrew Tuck with Stephanie Briers

In informal settlements, lights play an important role in terms of safety and to provide a better quality of life. Listen to this interview on our project to test lighting solutions in Khayelitsha.

 listen now 



Municipal officials visit WA project

by Noah Schermbrucker

Stellenbosch Municipality  recently visited WA Section, Khayelitsha to learn more about the wall-mounted solar lights that were recently installed on 50 structures rolled out by  LightUp in partnership with Peoples Environmental Planning and InDrive.




Infrastructures of Freedom

by Stephanie Briers

This book explores darkness and everynight life in informal settlements, looking at the process and impact of a co-created solar public lighting project in PJS Informal Settlement, Khayelitsha. 




Khayelitsha' campaign

in Drive press release

Read this press release by inDrive to learn more about the Layita Khayelitsha campaign that LightUp is collaborating on, using the power of music to light up Khayelitsha. 

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PJS Informal Solar Project

by Green Cape

This short documentary supported by the City of Cape Town tells the story of the solar lighting project in PJS, interviewing some residents of PJS some actors involved in making the project happen. 

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Everynight Life Screenplay

by Stephanie Briers & Ilze Myburgh

A short film depicting everynight life in informal settlements through the eyes of a young boy. This film was create with the community of PJS Informal Settlement and shot in PJS,. Cick below to watch the trailer.  

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The violence of lighting in Khayelitsha

by Stephanie Briers

Read about the history of high-mast lighting in Cape Town and why alternative public lighting solutions are necessary for domecratic South Africa.  

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