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LUCI People: Claus Petersen,

Project Manager / Urban Designer at the City of Stavanger

Place of Birth: Sønderborg, Denmark

Educational background: BSc. Landscape Architecture and Urban planning (University of Copenhagen), Master in Urban design (Aalborg University). I also hold a non-degree qualification in Graphic Design.

Time at current role: I have worked in the Urban Environment and Development department in the City of Stavanger for close to 5 years.

Previous roles: In the department of Urban planning and Development in City of Stavanger I worked with planning of new urban areas for 1,000-14,000 citizens. Before working in the City Administration, I worked as landscape architect at Ramboll Consulting in Stavanger.

Your main responsibilities and tasks at work are:

I work as Project Manager for projects in the city centre of Stavanger. I work on the overall planning and on strategies such as the light plan for the Stavanger city centre. Similarly, I have worked on an urban space strategy for Stavanger. I also do a number of smaller scale projects that focus on urban spaces or streets. These can include temporary installations that can enhance the city life.And of course, I now work a whole lot with lighting projects: landmarks, cathedral/churches, urban spaces and streets.

The urban development & lighting team in Stavanger is:

The City of Stavanger doesn’t have its own lighting department or a person with overall responsibility for lighting. I work in a project office with landscape architects, urban designers and engineers. We all work on outdoor areas in the city – everything from parks, schoolyards, streets, public squares etc. where each person typically is responsible for lighting in their projects. We collaborate closely with the organisation Lyse Lux which operates and maintains all public lighting in the region.

The key ingredients of a successful lighting project in the public space are:

Public/private collaboration or co-creation with user groups is vital, especially when working in the historical city centre. To me, this is the key to success in a lighting project. I recommend staging wide and transparent processes for those actors who might have an interest or stake in the location and project.

In an ideal world, the most appropriate lighting solution for Stavanger would be:

A full sensor-controlled and self-evaluating LED lighting system that can adapt to the situation and demands in each area.

A new development that has changed how Stavanger uses light in urban space is:

It is new to involve a wide range of user groups when we plan for new lighting. In the work with the light plan of the city centre, many actors were involved in the process. This provided insights that resulted in a number of decisions that would likely not have been made if we had not run such a process, so ultimately the result is shaped by this new process. As in example of enhancing the feeling of safety in the nighttime, we got some very important inputs from youth organisations.

The best part of your job is:

I enjoy the processes of co-creation with user groups and private actors. That is the part of the process that I find the most innovative and where the opportunity to create something unique together exists.

An international lighting project that has impressed you:

I enjoy visiting light festivals. The last one in Oulu, Finland stands out as a great experience for me.

A city that inspires you for its overall lighting is:

I am inspired by Ghent, Belgium. Especially how they have lit up the old medieval harbour front. We are working on lighting plans for our own historical harbour front. Hopefully we can do something that is as good as in Ghent.

Your professional goals for this year ahead:

In 2021, a political decision was made determining that Stavanger shall be the frontrunner in Norway in the matter of reducing light pollution. We will have to make an action plan for how to solve this. It is a major task for Stavanger, but I am very excited to be working on something like this.

The thing that most excites you about the City under Microscope Stavanger is:

Stavanger will have the first digital version of City under Microscope ever. We had to invent a format containing some of the same qualities as a physical event. Even though it is digital, we still hope that people can get the « Stavanger feeling » and of course have some kind social interaction.I am really excited to see how this will work out. Hopefully people will have some great experiences.

Besides light, you are passionate about:

I am passionate about rethinking the role of city centres and developing them. Many cities around the world have experienced how housing, offices, shopping and other functions have moved out from the city centre and how, as a consequence, the city centre has lost it has lost its historical role. This a common problem in many places, and now it is time to rethink their present and future role.On a personal level I am passionate about spending time with my daughter and my newborn son. In the limited free time I have, I play squash, go hiking, and take photographs.Covid19/home office times also made me become a hardcore sourdough and barista nerd! 

Finish the sentence: “Light in the city is …  

… a continuous process of testing and evaluating!

Image © City of Stavanger