Date of Award

Spring 6-2-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture

First Advisor

Colgate Searle

Second Advisor

Nick DePace


Witnessing the movements of the moon, stars, Milky Way and meteors is a fundamental first step in examining our roles in the universe and revealing the material origins of the landscapes we inhabit. It is this cosmic understanding that leads us to steward our environments and identify who we are.

We see the choreography of the stars not only by seeing the celestial bodies with telescopes or the naked eye, but also by experiencing the ways in which ambient light interacts with ground—changing by the minute, season and year. It is the dynamics between source and surface that catches us by surprise and inspires us to explore.

Our drive to illuminate human, urban nocturnal landscapes intensely and uniformly throughout the city and along its edges fosters a surveillance state, negating our ability to adventure into dark frontiers and risk finding phenomenal moments. Current lighting schemes degrade human health, hinder biotic nocturnal ecologies and limit our notions of nightlife. Ubiquitous artificial night lighting neutralizes our sense of wonder by presenting night as a human construct.

This book aims to answer the question: how do we create spaces of communal exploration and discovery of the cosmos within the dark edges of cities at night?

This work puts forward an argument for the value of darkness in city nights by revealing the power of ambient light, innovative wayfinding devices, architecture and ground to make the wonders of night accessible to the everynight urban explorer.

Landscape architects and artists have the ability to challenge common perceptions of night as unsafe and transgressive by representing the complexities of night, harnessing transmitted light and projecting new futures that expand notions of nightlife beyond a terrestrial scale.

This thesis offers a interdisciplinary perspective on reconstructing the textural and spatial qualities of night to bring us closer to the cosmos. Life After Dark builds on much theoretical and design work and hopes to spur a succession of phenomenological reconsiderations of landscape typologies underrepresented by the discipline.



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