Architecture & Urbanism

Night is constructed in time and in space. And yet, the foundations of urban space have been largely conceived from a diurnal perspective. Between planning agendas and nightly appropriations, tensions exist but so do openings for alternate solutions, adapted to the needs and well-being of nocturnal populations. This working group is concerned with how design and planning can better engage with the urban night. It employs the terms design and architecture(s) broadly to include the buildings, infrastructures, parks, open spaces, street furniture lighting and temporary installations that together, shape our experiences of the nocturnal city.  We know that lighting design is integral to a nuanced and sustainable nightscape, but what is the role of other design disciplines? As cities across the planet work to reduce global warming and light pollution, how will designers articulate the potential of dark atmospheres? One possible direction is to consider how perceptions of form, space and materials are reconfigured by shadow and light. Another is to look at how night changes spatial practices and redraws patterns of circulation. Still others include spatial mediations from zones of activity and repose, while addressing questions of security and access. It is understood that these considerations are always situated, distinct to each urban center, its geographic location, culture, history, structure and topography. They are also relational. The group offers an opportunity to explore practices for engaging local communities, city administrations, developers and design students, in building a more responsive and inclusive night.

The working group brings together researchers, design professionals and city planners interested in critical approaches to the relations between architecture, design and urbanism and the nighttime city. Interests include but are not limited to:

  • possibilities in dark design
  • atmospheres of urban darkness
  • wakeful cities, global cities
  • inclusivity, well-being
  • mobility, access
  • community engagement
  • nocturnal habitats, nature, parks
  • temporary installations, ephemeral space
  • urban fringes, industrial zones
  • lighting solutions, smart design
  • narratives of night cities
  • pedagogies of darkness in architecture, urbanism and design schools



Leader: Claire Downey

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