Let there be light: cultural heritage and light management in Lyon

  • culture

In Lyon, urban lighting is closely embedded in the whole urban landscape and is part of the city’s heritage.

Since the early 1990s, Lyon has engaged in a deep reflection on urban lighting. The first lighting plan was released in 1989 and changed its image of a foggy and black city. Lyon’s second lighting plan (2003) overcame the traditional approach to lighting (like lighting buildings), considering the new challenges arising with new technologies such as LED lighting, and gave a larger place to human beings and human activities.The plan also engaged in a reflection on the place of light in the cultural heritage of a city. Light shows the reality of the city in its complexity and heterogeneity. Today, light is an integral part of Lyon’s cityscape and has been integrated in all urban planning projects. A dedicated team sits in the public lighting department and oversees all lighting development in the city with lighting designers in each project team. New challenges have arisen, and within the EU-funded ROCK project, Lyon entered a reflection on an overall governance and regulatory framework to tackle the light cacophony and preserve the cityscape in terms of cultural heritage. The dialogue between public and private lighting and the use of commercial lighting is the focus of a new series of focus groups organised by the city and urban agency of Lyon to better understand people’s perception of commercial light and think about innovative policies to mitigate the urban light cacophony.

The ROCK general assembly took place in Lyon in November 2019, and partners had the chance to experience the Lyon lighting plan first hand during a dedicated visit ... by night.

EUROCITIES staff contact

Cecile Houpert