A municipality of around 200 000 inhabitants in northern Finland, Oulu experiences an arctic dark winter that provides a unique environment for urban light art and light planning. Light is one way to improve the safety of the residential areas of the city and offer comfortable and pleasurable urban experiences for inhabitants.
Due to its large population and geopolitically economic and cultural-historical location, Oulu has been called the « capital of Northern Finland ». Oulu is also considered one of Europe’s « living labs », where residents experiment with new technology (such as NFC tags and ubi-screens) on a community-wide scale.
Oulu will be European Capital of Culture in 2026, where light art is an important component of its strategy for « Cultural Climate Change ».
The Oulu Lighting Master Plan was finished in 2010, aiming to modernize the public lighting and improve its energy efficiency. The master plan also includes technical specifications and light planning guidelines for various areas of the city.
The city of Oulu has organized Lumo Light Festival every year starting from 2013. The goal of the festival is to bring light and joy for the people during the darkest of times and offer new viewpoints to the city experience. Each year a place is chosen from the city centre and illuminated with light art.
The popularity of the festival has grown each year and it currently gathers an audience measured in tens of thousands to enjoy light art experiences and community feelings during a November weekend.
The municipality of Oulu hosted the LUCI City under Microscope in 2019.
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