The University of Utah
College of Architecture + Planning


The term “dark skies” refers to unimpeded night-time views of the universe beyond our planet. These views served as a backdrop and inspiration for most of human history. Today, however, our night skies are less dark, and night on Earth is rapidly changing. Students in this course will explore the challenges and opportunities presented by these changes. Students will explore the emerging research on artificial light exposure and its impact on human health, animal health, public safety, and how our loss of access to the night skies affects us personally and locally. We will explore ways that a new generation of practitioners in multiple fields can address the challenges of light pollution through artistic expression, science, and design. Using the campus as a laboratory, this course will include some field work, including learning how to use various measurement technologies to measure and evaluate lighting impacts. Critical thinking and creative responses to multi-faceted challenges are encouraged, to generate multiple ways of navigating the many issues surrounding the disappearing dark.


Self Portraits

Students create a self-portrait about their relationship to the environment through some form of creative expression, including poetry, photography, drawing and more.


Julianne Liu

Julianne Liu

Ethan Shaw

In this final self portrait I have overlaid a silhouette representing me being happy and enlightened with the visibility of the night sky. Another semester of knowledge under my belt. Though this sort of view is not visible yet in the city, I feel like I have learned some ways in which I can work toward it, whereas at the start of the semester I had no sense of direction as to how light pollution can be mitigated.

-Ethan Shaw


Me and Myself

I was born on May 29th, I hear that makes me a Gemini
I’m exactly what that means
I’m 5 foot 6… and a half, I weigh 132 pounds
I don’t know how to juggle, but I’m a sucker for a guy with a contagious laugh…
and nice hair

I’m still learning to be myself
I often glow in the shadows but
I’m starting to fade in the light
I was born at 3:03 and I have been odd ever since

I like Disney… a lot
I’ve been told I go to much
people say I’m always there
Maybe I am 
its where I was taught to run when things got bad
And secretly I need the happiness to get through “reality”

I have an odd fascination with helping others
I find myself helping others in attempt to avoid helping myself
I assume it’s because all the mirrors I had shattered from looking at my now tattered image
I can only see the change in others
And to be honest I think it’s safer that way
See change reminds me I love adventures and trying new things 
but I’m afraid of the unknown constantly circling slight scenarios in my head
I have never been beat but I have these bruises
I got them from falling and cracking my confidence
I know it sounds weird but sometimes
I wonder what my walls whisper when I have my headphones in
I wonder what my planner would say if it knew how much of my schedule it couldn’t swallow
I’ve got I have a bottle on my dresser where I used to stuff my fears but another one simply won’t fit
I have a bin I keep hidden under my bed it’s filled with a ball hope that’s growing each day

-Laurin Hoadley

Me and Myself

I enjoy midnight laser tag, spontaneous stargazing
And poking things with sticks
But I don’t allow myself to feel as often as I should
I have a duct taped confidence and a resting smile
My Hobbies include letting my emotions out in any non-verbal way, overthinking the simplest of decisions, and trying not to disappoint the people around me
I don’t know much, but I do know this
I know that we have the power to mend ourselves…
And create a new legacy

-Laurin Hoadley

Final Video Project

Students analyzed a campus parking structure and made recommendations to help minimize the light pollution. The final analysis and recommendations were presented in a 10-minute video.