Presenter: Jenny M. DeMarco
Advisor(s): Arthur Rice
Author(s): Jenny M. DeMarco
Graduate Program: Landscape Architecture

Title: EMBRACING THE DARKNESS: RESEARCH INTO THE CONTINUING EVOLUTION OF NIGHT SPACES AND LIGHTING IN URBAN ENVIRONMENTS

Abstract: This paper will look at the history of man-made light, the nightlife that emerged and evolved along with the technology, and the current design processes and uses of light in urban spaces. 

Night-time has deep biological, psychological, sociological and cultural bearings on us. Biologically; a chemical in our bodies reacts to the light on our eyelids to wake us up in the morning. Psychologically; we have a primal fear of the dark and seek shelter from it when we sleep. Historically, we huddled together in villages, closed the city gates when the sun went down until the street lamps were implemented in the 17th century. And currently, the city has a culture and society unique to the night. 

This paper, as exploring the elements of night and lighting, will specifically link technological developments with the creation of new public spaces. Research has been done in the psychological, cultural, and historical aspects of nightlife along with different strategies for dealing with light in urban environments. This paper also looks at theater lighting design and recent advents of lighting design in digital animation, specifically in gaming. 

In addition, specific urban projects renowned for their innovation in lighting were also selected and evaluated as case studies that will link the research to those urban spaces and what we do in the urban environment today. Connections will be made with the light in our lives, nightlife, the role of urban lighting, new advances in digital animation, theater lighting design, and the urban spaces we are currently creating.