Many architecturally and historically significant public and private buildings, numerous monuments and parks, and lively streetscapes help define the City of Boston.  However, many downtown and neighborhood areas of the city lack urban legibility at night which diminishes residents’ and visitors’ enjoyment of the social and aesthetic quality of the city, creates safety concerns and inhibits economic vitality.

Light Boston is the leading organization in the city working to address this issue through imaginative, effective, and environmentally responsible exterior lighting.  Exterior lighting can be used as an effective urban planning tool to:

  • Enhance social activity and economic growth by extending city life for residents and tourists into the evening and night
  • Improve the aesthetics and urban legibility of the city
  • Contribute to public safety
  • Highlight and complement Boston’s unique urban environment

By advocating for illumination as a vital component of urban design, Light Boston seeks to encourage interest, understanding, and appreciation of the city’s unique historic and cultural heritage. With responsible exterior illumination at the forefront of the city’s consciousness, Light Boston believes positive impacts will follow.

Our History

Light Boston was founded in 1996 by Anne B. R. Witherby, who recognized the need for responsible lighting installations in the City of Boston.  Mrs. Witherby and a small group of like-minded volunteers created a citizen’s advocacy group to encourage City officials to illuminate the State House on Beacon Hill.

Light Boston As Project Facilitator

In certain instances, Light Boston will facilitate the actual illumination of historic buildings and cultural sites. Please see “Our Projects” page for examples of buildings recently illuminated with Light Boston’s direct assistance. In these cases, Light Boston has procured funding sources, lined up necessary professionals, and helped manage the lighting design and installation process. In addition to the sites identified in the Diamond Necklace Project, Light Boston is constantly looking for opportunities to assist in lighting historic and culturally significant sites in the City.

Light Boston As Advocate

To accomplish Light Boston’s goals, it has become a strong advocate for aesthetically pleasing exterior lighting in the City of Boston. These efforts take many forms including acting as an advisor to the City of Boston and its numerous departments and foundations, and providing counsel to community groups, site owners and private industries. Light Boston acts as a catalyst bringing lighting issues into urban planning forums and raising community awareness of the benefits of well designed exterior lighting. Improving nighttime environments benefits all of our residents and helps address safety concerns while increasing civic pride in local landmarks.

Light Boston Information Services

Light Boston serves as an information source about exterior lighting in Boston.  For the benefit of its constituents, Light Boston maintains a referral list of the regions top lighting designers and contacts in the architectural profession and the lighting manufacturing and distributing industry.  Light Boston is constantly monitoring the world of lighting, especially innovative applications of exterior lighting in dense urban environments.  Please contact us, and we can either provide you with the information you need or connect you with the right professional.

Light Boston is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, supported by private contributions and project-specific public support.  Please visit our Donation page to help support our efforts.