29 Aug 2017 / Luci /

Asian cities talk sustainable lighting in workshop in Seoul

A regional urban lighting workshop organised by LUCI, the City of Seoul and CityNet on 29 – 30 June 2017 in Seoul, S. Korea, gathered over 50 participants from 15 cities in Asia and beyond to discuss sustainable urban lighting.

The workshop, which included interactive work sessions, group discussions, networking and site visits, provided public lighting decision-makers from the region an overview of the opportunities and benefits of sustainable urban lighting.

Reflecting the many approaches to urban lighting in Asia

Bringing together cities of very different sizes, histories and resources, the workshop gave a strong sense of the very varied and complex range of issues that Asian cities need to address when planning and implementing strategic urban lighting.

This complexity was reflected in the presentations of diverse case studies by participating Asian cities such as Da Nang (Vietnam), Jinju (S.Korea), Seoul (S. Korea), Semarang (Indonesia), and Yala (Thailand).  There was also a strong focus on event and spectacular lighting such as media facades, festivals (Yudeung Festival of Jinju) and public light art.

A full session addressed issues of energy saving, climate change and cost. In addition, various presentations emphasized the importance, and difficulty of integrating social aspects of lighting into the more economic and technical strategies.

Interactive SWOT and road-mapping sessions

Participants explored these issues through two interactive sessions focused on the practical issues involved in developing a coherent, robust and sustainable urban lighting strategy.

The first of these sessions involved a SWOT analysis by delegates considering strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats identified separately or in common.

A second session, focused on “Roadmapping for intelligent urban lighting”, was moderated by Professor Don Slater, London School of Economics and Mr Rik Van Stiphout, Program Advisor Light & Culture of the City of Eindhoven, with the support of experts from Seoul, LUCI and CityNet.

Participants defined the challenges and goals for urban lighting in their city, outlined the overall vision for urban lighting they aim towards, and mapped the resources and planning needed to unroll that vision over the future.

Common regional challenges and opportunities

The rich and wide-ranging group discussions highlighted several key themes and issues affecting Asian cities today:

  • Despite cities of very different size and profile, there was considerable agreement about the main urban lighting problems and priorities. However, the extent to which urban lighting was focused on aesthetic and heritage features as opposed to energy cost savings through LED implementation did vary from city to city (though these issues clearly overlapped in most).
  • Safety and security issues loomed large as priority issues though significant difference emerged in what these terms meant for different cities (eg, vandalism, ethnic violence, tourism, accidents).
  •  A few cities raised the importance of involving lighting designers in planning urban lighting strategies that are often dominated by engineering and economic considerations.
  • An overriding concern was how to implement LED and reap maximum benefits in terms of both cost saving and control systems. Most cities see this as the main task they face, which leads to an equally common concern with getting the right financial and political resources to meet this challenge.
  •  Most cities were concerned about getting the right financing and political support for such strategic investment. They all underlined the value of municipal networking, including organizations like LUCI. Similarly, many cities emphasized the struggle to make citizens and governors aware of the importance of lighting as urban infrastructure.
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