A Framework for a City Built for Sunlight

Latest Release from the Fight for Light Campaign

May 18, 2021

This policy brief presents a Framework for a City Built for Sunlight. It is the latest release by the Fight for Light campaign, an initiative founded by the Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) in 2018 in partnership with New Yorkers for Parks.

This policy brief is the third publication in our exploration of the role of sunlight in urban environments. Our Bright Ideas report, released in October 2019, serves as a primer on the relationship between access to light and air and public health, and offers case studies on the ways that other global cities are building to protect and preserve this natural resource. In its conclusion, we laid out a series of recommendations for New York City, including the creation of a Director of the Public Realm, the development of a social vulnerability analysis, and an assessment of sunlight availability.

Last year, we followed up Bright Ideas with a new brief on that first recommendation. A Public Champion for the Public Realm, released in August 2020, outlined the responsibilities of a future Director of the Public Realm, the resources that office would need to succeed, and the most effective place to house it within New York City government.

In this latest release, we are diving into those remaining recommendations with a Framework for a City Built for Sunlight. Taken together, our analyses point to the need for targeted, place-based solutions alongside citywide policies that consider sunlight and public space from a broader health equity perspective. It is particularly important to home in on neighborhoods where there is a lack of sunlight, public spaces are at risk, and social vulnerability persists.

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