Student Work

  • Lighting Design (MFA)

    Iris Ahn

    Urban Nightscape: Perceived Level of Safety at Jacob Riis (2018)

    Street lighting shapes our experience of the urban nightscape. Different lighting conditions can affect the decisions that we make, or even the way we live our lives. This paper explores the relationship between our perception and street lighting, and how lighting ultimately influences one's perceived level of safety. In 2016, New York City launched the Mayor's Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety (MAP). The city installed generator-operated floodlights to elevate light levels in certain area. The city believed that well-lit streets increased the perception of safety and would reduce crime rates. Although the city's attempt to decrease crime rate was an important way to bring positive changes to neighborhoods, it also meant sacrifices in the quality of life for residents. The lighting system created other problems, such as loud generator noises and glare issues. In this paper, I attempt to understand the residents' perception of safety at night and provide an alternative solution that could help increase the level of perceived safety and the quality of life at the Jacob Riis Houses. It is my hope that this study will allow people to reexamine their priorities in design decisions and understand that we do have a chance to enhance people's lives through designs and affect the world around us.