Night time design: Envisioning luminous cities



28 April 2015


The University of Sydney


Public forum

It is time to redraw city design visions to include the hours of darkness. Urbanists (and artists) who believe in the value of diverse space usage want to create places that are welcoming and heterogeneous – spaces that are inclusive. Urban lighting itself has expanded into a re-envisioned profession of ‘night-time design’.

The lighting urbanist designs outdoor spaces that are truly conducive to social interaction: that encourage activity and psychological wellbeing; that welcome people of different backgrounds; and that provide a feeling of security and confidence. Safer spaces would include protection from cars, enhanced ability to see physical impediments and increased visual comfort for the elderly and vulnerable.

Strategic light at night enhances legibility – ease of access – during the darkened hours. The Sydney audience has the privileged opportunity of enjoying the Vivid festival each year. Leni Schwendinger is a lighting designer with expertise in the illumination of architectural and public spaces around the world. She will present her creative illuminated environments, ones that highlight infrastructure and neglected spaces – opening up fresh ideas for local districts. Leni will guide the audience through a community-based design process with international case studies.  

Co-presented by the Future Cities Collaborative at the US Studies Centre and Sydney Ideas at the University of Sydney


  • Leni Schwendinger
    Associate Principal, Arup Architects

    Leni Schwendinger was a visitor at the US Studies Centre in 2015. Schwendinger specialises in city lighting and leads the “Nighttime Design/Global Lighting Urbanist” initiative at Arup Architects. She is a recognised authority on the many issues and applications of city lighting, with more than 20 years of experience creating illuminated environments for public spaces all over the world.