City under Microscope Gothenburg – Highlights

Lighting the future

The LUCI City under Microscope in Gothenburg took place from the 20th to the 23rd of April 2016, bringing together close to 130 representatives and lighting professionals from over 30 cities from 20 countries worldwide.

The event addressed key issues in urban lighting, such as the challenge of implementing future-proof street lighting in an expanding city, as well as light and art in the urban space.

Future-proof public lighting

Conference sessions presented Gothenburg’s current lighting strategy and the role it plays in the city’s ambitious urban development plans for the future.

Gothenburg’s lighting strategy, which is outlined in its lighting policy document, its lighting master plan as well as a technical manual, focuses on building a future-proof public lighting system. A major evolution is already in progress. The city which uses green energy for its public lighting system, will be replacing all its HPS lamps by warm white LEDs, in line with its CO2 neutral goals.


Gothenburg’s population is set to grow by one third in the next 20 years, and the city is implementing urban revitalisation and densification strategies through which a large part of prime land in the city centre will be converted from ship docks to residential and office areas.
Gothenburg’s plan for future-proof public lighting therefore hinges on staying at the forefront of technological developments in lighting, thinking out of the box (especially when it comes to maintenance contracts), and ensuring the involvement of urban lighting professionals in the early stages of the planning of the new areas of the city.

Event participants got a first-hand experience of this future Gothenburg in-the-making through the Frihamnen Lighting Lab, in which they helped design lighting for the newly developing harbour district of Frihamnen.
The workshop brought international perspectives and input on the potentials of light in this area which aims to be a test bed for innovative solutions to urban challenges.

Other field visits included a site visit to the Gotaplatsen square, winner of the Swedish Light Award 2012, which gave participants a detailed understanding of the technical lighting choices that have helped turn this newly renovated square from an unwelcoming space to a comfortable and inviting meeting place for citizens. Participants also got the opportunity to see the city.people.light award-winning Vastra Eriksberg lighting project as well as the Amphibian tunnel light art project.

A discussion on light and art in public spaces

A session on light and art in the urban space was one of the highlights of the event. The discussion centred on the added value that light art can bring to public space, focusing on how the deceptive simplicity of light art installations can provoke emotions and encourage people to interact with their surroundings and each other. A point was also made about what artists can bring to the city – light art projects in the urban space involve people that would not otherwise have been involved in building urban spaces and bring a new perspective to city design and planning.

This session also saw the release of LUCI’s new publication, Light & Art in Public Spaces. Based on first-hand experiences of cities such as Amsterdam, Gothenburg, Helsinki, Lyon, Rotterdam and Turin, the publication addresses how municipalities can use light and art as an instrument to add value to public spaces and improve quality of life in the city.

The lights of Alingsås

The City of Alingsås, co-host of the event, presented its lighting plan, which includes chapters on town planning, links, nodes, entrances, landmarks, parks and water, as well as topics such as safety, city branding, etc. It is both a guide on lighting design and a manual on how to think, plan and implement lighting in Alingsås.

A detailed look at the Lights in Alingsås festival demonstrated the flourishing effects that a lighting design workshop can have on the daily life of a small-scale town in autumn. The audience learnt how Lights in Alingsås grew from a small workshop in 1999 to the internationally-known and award-winning exhibition that it is today.

Future perspectives for LUCI

The event ended with a look toward the future, with a strategic plan workshop to gather members’ input on their experience of LUCI, visions and needs. This workshop, which will feed into the LUCI strategic plan process that started at the 2015 AGM in Helsinki, resulted in many interesting new perspectives for the network.

Watch or re-watch the event

LUCI members will soon be able to watch videos & presentations made during the conferences in the LUCI Hub.

 Event pictures

We are happy to share some photos from the conference. You can access them here.

Please be sure to use the noted ©photo credits if sharing these via social media or your communication channels.

© City of Gothenburg ; © Lena Oritsland