History Major Rachel Eu Publishes Senior Thesis in the Journal of Urban History
History major Rachel Eu ’19 published a single-authored research article, “Sunlight and Gaslight: Mapping Light in Mid-Nineteenth-Century New York City” in the Journal of Urban History, the leading scholarly journal in the field. The article is a revised version of Rachel’s 2019 senior thesis, which was awarded distinction.
The article “evaluates the distribution of natural and artificial light in New York City during the mid-nineteenth century. Analysis centers on the interplay between social factors and morphological characteristics of the urban landscape in impacting New Yorkers’ access to light. The article employs built environment data and geographic information systems (GIS) mapping methodology as its main approach. First, the article makes an exploration into the distribution of natural light. By analyzing the distribution of built features, the article demonstrates that natural light and darkness dispersed along lines of wealth and poverty, as sunlight commodified into a highly coveted resource. The second section of this article draws from archival sources to construct an unprecedented visualization of the street gas main network in mid-century Manhattan. Analysis demonstrates that spatial patterns of artificial light correlated strongly with commerce, as the new technology was prioritized along commercial streets over residential thoroughfare.”