top of page

Leni’s secret leadership factor springs from her interlocking passions, art and activism.

Leni Schwendinger is an internationally acclaimed speaker who shares her journey as an artist-activist with audiences to spark their creativity.

Leni participates in global conferences, associations, and small groups as a speaker and leader engaging a variety of design genres. She conducts training and workshops, in-person and/or online.

Is night scary or poetic? Inviting or frightful?  These questions speak to the challenges of utilizing outdoor spaces. Leni facilitates local community and stakeholder engagement with the NightSeeing™ Navigate Your Luminous City program in cities and towns worldwide. For example, in Cartagena, Colombia, her research team sought to discover methodologies to build stronger communities with light through a hands-on lantern prototype.

Leni’s objective is to expand social interaction and activity in public spaces. This ambitious challenge is shared with audiences through a dramatic discovery of light.

Recent Talks, Events and Think Tanks

September 2021 - Rethinking Darkness - Borders, Landscapes, Practices, Royal Geography Society
Panel based on the eponymous book by Routledge Press, Schwendinger’s Chapter: Darkness as Canvas. The relationships between light and dark, and the borders between night and day, are fundamental to our regular social patterns and rhythms, and to how most of us make sense and engage with the world.

March 2021 - Enlightened | Planning and Designing Public Spaces for the Night, 24HourDallas
Panel: A new field of expertise has emerged for placemaking at night. A city's nighttime economic vitality, culture, public health and — of course — safety can be enhanced by how public spaces are designed and how light is shaped.


October 2020 - NightSeeing™, Lighting Design and Placemaking in the City, New London Architecture
A virtual night walk to explore the dark side of the City of London. Traverse this tour, by way of photos and commentary. The City after dusk is a surprisingly different experience than during the day. This online webinar presented the views of lighting and placemaking experts on the relevance of the vernacular light versus careful illumination design to transform the urban night-time.

July 2020 - "The Collaborative Night: Where Light and Cities Meet" Illuminating Engineering Society: Light for Life. On behalf of Lighting Urban Communities International (LUCI). A global, virtual marathon of lectures.

July 2020 - “A Regional Approach to Light and Enabling Technologies” New York State Capital District Transportation Committee, (CDTC)

The Municipal Smart City Street Light Conversion & Evolving Technology Guidebook recommends processes and policy on behalf of New York State's transportation planning division. The guidance is written for towns and cities on the cusp of decision-making in regard to energy and cost-savings -- and better nighttime environments.


October 2020 - How Outdoor Lighting Enables Smarter Cities (Podcast) Schreder

How can lighting infrastructure make a city more responsive to its citizens’ needs? What does that mean for mayors, city planners, architects and utilities?

November 2019 - Get the Night Right Sydney and Hunter Region, Australia. Cities Leadership Institute. Placemaking masterclasses with Ethan Kent of PlacemakingX. 

October 2019 - Healthy City Design London, UK SALUS

The Nighttime Design Initiative: Night is an existing condition. Urbanization is a rapidly growing condition. There is no distinct holistic planning approach yet for the dark hours and their unique characteristics, 50%, of our time and space, the urban night.

June 2019 - Luminous Legibility­ Lighting and Nighttime Design Urbanism: A Primer for City Design Advocates. Project for Public Spaces Placemaking Series: New York, NY

June 2019  Burlington Sessions #2: A New Language of Lighting. Signify Design and Lighting Academy

This was a CoCreate aimed at bringing together lighting artists & designers that inspire, push the limits, and create a new language of lighting, comprised of internationally recognized disruptors leading the way into the future of lighting.

May 22, 2019 - Nighttime Design - New Approaches for Cities to Thrive, Lightfair International, Philadelphia, PA Nighttime design is a response to the challenges of 24hr globalization focused on creative, locally-based solutions. Networks and technologies are rapidly emerging and adopted. Public space lighting for the dark hours are being revisited. This seminar presents an interdisciplinary urban design practice led by lighting.

January 12, 2019 - NUMO  (New  Urban Mobility)  Washington D.C.  Street Design workshop: exploration to develop new street designs to accommodate and encourage new forms of mobility, including micro-mobility.­


December 12, 2018 - Night Shift, NYC, by Urban Design Forum. Schwendinger presents Nighttime Design, an interdisciplinary approach to placemaking after dark.

November 22, 2018 - Nocturnal Cities in Bogota Colombia. This regional Latin American Conference explored the relationship between city planning, strategy, development and the night time economy with the top minds from municipalities, regions, academics, consultancies and the music and creative industries.

October 29, 2018 - Archtober: NightSeeing™ in Times Square. Walk  with urban lighting  and  nighttime designer Leni Schwendinger to re-frame NYC's spatial spectacle at the Crossroads of the World.

September 13, 2018 - Luminous Legibility, Lighting and  Nighttime Design Urbanism, IES-SF.  Schwendinger presents a talk about the trends and innovative methodologies that are rocking the world of public lighting design.

Questions, Concerns, Insights? Ask Leni

bottom of page