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Planning + Community

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Photos: Kelli Hayden Photography

Photos: Kelli Hayden Photography

NightSeeing Third Street Promenade for Downtown Santa Monica


Santa Monica, California


Downtown Santa Monica (DTSM), Santa Monica City Planning Department



Downtown Santa Monica, a Business Improvement District, commissioned Leni Schwendinger to conduct a NightSeeing™ program. The purpose was to provide a qualitative, eye-opening experience of nighttime for stakeholders in the Third Street Promenade during the master-planning process. The event consisted of a lecture, followed by a walking tour, and a workshop on the following day. It was attended by stakeholders, city planners, and select public officials.

During an energetic walk, observations were pointed out and noted by the attendees. Discussions centered on beloved features as well as less successful spaces, social conditions, and lighting quality. Instruction was provided to expand attendees’ vocabulary to describe objectives for a newly vitalized area for the hours between dusk and dawn. The workshop attendees generated three objectives for a future lighting and night strategy.

Overview: Utilize light as a medium that fosters welcome after dark

1. Further develop community connections by providing public space activities for interaction and authentic community involvement. Explore “surprising” night activities that build anticipation and require discovery

2. Build upon the public art program to define and interpret place identity. Consider alleys and adjacent streets as sites, provide gathering places

3. Develop a range of experiential streetscape activities from subtle and nuanced to bold and spectacular
The objectives provide a launch point for a future expanded area lighting masterplan.

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