What memories do you have of light? What comes to mind when you think
about light in your neighborhood? What is your experience of light in
For the past two years, these questions have rooted the Signal Station North project, an NEA Our Town grant and Central Baltimore Partnership-supported effort to plan and engage Baltimore residents around lighting in the public realm. From in-person meetings and one-on-one interviews to countless Zooms, digital surveys and, more recently, on-the-street tabling, door-knocking, and walkshops, we’ve asked these questions to more than 150 Station North residents and visitors. In response, you shared so many insights:
“Lighting is the main key. People wouldn’t toss their trash, hang in shadows. Lighting would keep things nice.”
“To get to the businesses along Charles St., it feels like there’s an island to swim over to get there that I don’t want to walk.”
“Baltimore needs light. But, too bright is too much. We need yellow light to calm down, mellow light. Bright light to see, though.”
And so many more. From our conversations, we found 14 community identified values, from “lighting that supports access to neighborhood spaces at night,” to “lighting that supports connections between neighborhoods,” and “lighting that feels homey, warm, and inviting.”
Working closely with Glen Shrum, Laura Dillon, and Paloma Sherman at Flux Studio, we layered your experience of the nighttime environment with analysis of the current lighting and urban conditions in Station North. This led to yet more insights: about where more light is needed, where light is too bright (throughout the District, as it turns out!), and how creative lighting interventions and intentional lighting investment can support all users of Station North.
Over the summer, we’ll be sharing out the work of the Signal community listening, analysis, planning and design effort. There are lots of ways for you to engage with the project! At the end of June, we’ll share the Signal Station North Lighting Plan, an in-depth analysis of light in the District and practical and conceptual recommendations for future lighting investment. We’ll also share our Lighting Guidebook, with Dr. Mo Speller’s history of light in Baltimore, case studies on key elements of the City’s nighttime infrastructure, and resources on how you can impact light in your place. Finally, keep your eyes peeled for “A Guide to Navigating Light,” artist Ruby Waldo’s second zine that offers more ways to interact with light in the City. We’ll be distributing the zines at old fashioned newspaper kiosks in each of the District’s 3 neighborhoods: Greenmount West, Charles North, and Barclay.
If you’re ready to step back out into the street, we hope you’ll join us for one of our Community Light Walks in June. We’ll follow different routes through the District, observing scientific and historical insights about light and sharing personal stories, observations, and input from Station North residents and visitors.
Finally, check back in for updates on our three Demonstration Projects, light installations designed by Flux Studio, Bruce Willen of Public Mechanics, and the team at PI.KL Studio—informed by input from you!—to bring creative, functional lighting to neighborhood spaces. We’ll be installing these projects over the summer, and can’t wait to light up Station North together!