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Nocturnal Vibrancy

Offering local communities a place to shine 

Project details

Bachelor – Spatial Design
Commercial Practices
Futures & Presence

This project is inspired by my experiences biking through the vibrant and culturally diverse neighbourhoods of Feijenoord and Noorderiland. During the day, these areas are bustling and active, but at night, they transform into silent, underutilised spaces. Taking a feminist approach, I questioned the existing urban planning of these neighbourhoods. I discovered the municipality’s controlled design, such as insufficient lighting in parks, these regulations contribute to setting standardised norms that discourage public space usage at night. Because of this, Noordereiland and Feijenoord public spaces go against locals’ needs and desires, creating a disconnection between the residents and their neighbourhoods. Despite this, there is a desire for change. Community centres such as De Sportknatine and Tante Nino, as well as social initiatives like Street Kitchen, stand out. Locals aim to reclaim the space and infuse it with their personalities. 

I created night walks as a research method to understand the locals’ experiences and interactions with these public spaces after dark. In these night walks, I guided locals around their neighbourhoods to rediscover dark, hidden places. Participants shared their feelings and memories, highlighting the significant impact of lighting on their sense of safety and community. Despite the municipality-controlled mechanism, participants learned they were allowed to use these spaces at night and appreciated walking as an encounter method. The walks revealed a desire for community gatherings, but lacking meeting spots often leads locals to leave their neighbourhoods, causing disconnection. The whole night walk experience is translated into the Zine. 

Creating a walkable journey for locals to rediscover their neighbourhood under a new light.  

VIDEO : Night Walk 31/05 – Light installation

I developed a lighting proposal, infused with the locals’ identities and adaptable to different demographics and needs. I believe that by combining light and a change of program, these public spaces can be revitalised at night. To test the effectiveness of my proposal, I organised a final night walk on May 31st. I used light and my guidelines to illuminate three locations in Feijenoord and Noordereiland. The results are showcased in the movie + small conclusions and outcomes of the walk.  

A common design language connects all the public spaces together, 

  • I used warm LED tubes, which display cool-toned colours, to create a welcoming atmosphere that contrasts with the harsh white streetlights. 
  • The lights play with and highlight existing structures, reviving their original functions and offering new ones. 
  • Through participatory design, residents have control over the lighting, creating a deeper connection between them and the space.

By incorporating a feminist perspective and focusing on light, my project challenges traditional norms and control mechanisms in urban planning. Engaging the community in the design process ensured the creation of inclusive, adaptable spaces that reflect their needs and aspirations. Through the final walk, I demonstrate the transformative potential of thoughtful lighting design and community involvement in revitalising public spaces by highlighting the importance of human connection and inclusivity.

Research document