Planning + Community
Photos: Keith Jacobs
NightSeeing at Myrtle Beach
Myrtle Beach, California
Myrtle Beach Downtown Alliance
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Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is planning and designing an Arts and Innovation District.
Nighttime designer and urban lighting consultant, Leni Schwendinger was commissioned by the Myrtle Beach Downtown Alliance (MBDA) to conduct her NightSeeing™️ methodology to address nighttime and lighting issues and to set objectives for the future.
The mission of NightSeeing™️ is to transform cities at night into safe and welcoming, inspiring and inclusive places. Through close collaboration with MBDA, a customized program including a LightWalk, an invited workshop, stakeholder Q&A, and an open public presentation was delivered.
Stakeholders attended Leni’s talk and LightWalk tour where they experienced a fresh perspective on positive and negatively perceived night spaces, their social and physical conditions, and lighting atmospheres. The purpose was to provide a qualitative experience with a vision of the future in mind.
Attendees included the Myrtle Beach Mayor, City Council, and City Operations staff. Small business owners and managers participated. Also in attendance were arts and culture representatives such as Coastal Carolina University. Vocabulary and the language of light were expanded to describe how an after-dusk vitalized district would look and feel.
As a baseline, during the Envisioning Workshop, attendees identified three objectives for the District’s nighttime design.
1. Identifiable pathways for walking and bikeways that emphasize connection
2. A canvas of light with focal points designed with historic characteristics and innovative features
3. Transformable fun spaces that welcome people at night
Significantly the program produced an enthusiastic community cohort through active learning through group walking and workshopping. A launch point has been established for a nighttime masterplan to improve the after-dark environment of the proposed Arts & Innovation District in Myrtle Beach.