Theses Master's

Designing New York: Nightscapes for Wellness

Hui, Shannon Onlam

In collaboration with the New York City Public Design Commission (PDC), this report explores the transformative potential of electric lighting and nighttime programming in leveraging infrastructure, health, and environmental equity within the public realm. Departing from conventional perspectives that view lighting design primarily through the lenses of safety, way-finding, and aesthetics, it redefines nighttime design to encompass its multifaceted impacts on public space activation, well-being, and economic vitality. A comprehensive literature review highlights the intricate dynamics between lighting, health, and equity, underscoring the manifold benefits of fostering social interaction, physical activity, and place-making opportunities, while also addressing emerging discourse pertaining to nighttime inequities, night shift work, energy consumption, and ecological disturbances. Diverse case studies illuminate innovative, inclusive, and culturally sensitive approaches to nighttime design interventions, alongside an examination of the nuanced challenges and opportunities associated with implementing, operating, and maintaining lighting projects within New York City's governance framework. In processing open-source data collected through a nighttime field survey methodology, an approach to geospatial analysis explores the relationship between public and private lighting assets in New York City and key indicators of community wellness, safety, and neighborhood socioeconomic characteristics.

Geographic Areas


This item is currently under embargo. It will be available starting 2024-12-01.

More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Woodward, Douglas
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
June 25, 2024