The Proposal 

Students Proposal - November 2017


Six Parsons MFA Lighting Design students, are going to Puerto Rico in January 15th-19th, 2018, to study the role of electric lighting in a state of emergency in a tropical post-hurricane environment. (((request $))) Our intent for this study is to understand the role of electric lighting in disaster relief, preparedness and states of emergency in a tropical post-hurricane environment. We will also be conducting interviews to illuminate the social impact of the lack of electric lighting in conjunction with analytical research on existing lighting levels to compare to both IES recommended light levels and the individual experience.

While in Puerto Rico we will be meeting with architecture professors, hospital administrators and researchers, and local residents. Our hope is to form a relationship with our contacts to exchange knowledge and ideas between New York City and Puerto Rican architecture and lighting students and to continue this relationship in future years.

We have coordinated with various local community leaders and officials to set up interviews relevant to this study. Edwin Quiles, a professor at la Escuela de Arquitectura de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, is currently conducting work within several local Puerto Rican communities and has graciously invited us with him to these communities to interview residents about their experiences through the storms and the aftermath without power and lighting, as well as give his take on the current lighting conditions. 

Carlos Muñiz, from el Proyecto Enlace Caño Martín Peña, an architect as well, has also agreed to speak with us and introduce us to the eight communities he is currently involved with. We are currently in conversation with a member of the Universidad de Puerto Rico hospital to speak with a researcher and hospital administrators on the impact the recent hurricanes had on the hospital, specifically the lack of electric lighting as it pertains to our studies. We also intend to go to Loíza, a small community still without power (and likely to not have power in January), where Tania Rosario, Director of the NGO Taller Salud, will elucidate some of the hardships the residents have faced without power and lighting.

Throughout this trip we will be documenting our experiences to bring back to New York City and share with our community. This documentary will be focused on the lighting challenges and its effect on different communities throughout the island. We plan to share this documentation with our local communities through the use ******. It is our hope that a first hand visual account of the devastation in Puerto Rico will spur action within our community and help prepare us for the next large disaster. This documentary will also be used in two thesis projects this year, those of Marién Vélez and Mreenmoy Paul, who are both studying the disaster in Puerto Rico.

As stated previously, we will be forming relationships not only with the community members and leaders, but also with several schools and architects in Puerto Rico. By this we hope to initiate a medium where we can exchange both knowledge and experience, between our two areas.

This study is a student initiative to fully involve ourselves and our studies with real-world experiences. The interviews with local residents, hospital officials, local architects, and other community leaders will help us understand the full extent of lighting’s impact on communities and individuals. The analysis of current lighting conditions will help us understand what levels are required to perform tasks, and which tasks to prioritize, if we are ever in a situation as dire as the one Puerto Rico is in right now and in a position to help. The relationships we form while we are there we hope to continue and build into a mutually beneficial exchange of ideas and people so we can receive a broader understanding of different design techniques throughout the Americas. And our video we hope will have as large an impact on its viewers as we can manage, as we are in a bubble of safety here at Parsons without much of an understanding of the real devastation happening now. These four avenues of investigation we will be pursuing on this trip are of vital importance to a broadening of our education.


Kindest Regards,


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