Introducing Meri Lumela, new LUCI President

On 9 November 2020, LUCI members elected a new Executive Committee. The City of Jyväskylä (Finland), represented by Meri Lumela, Chair of the City Board, will be President of LUCI for the next two years. Ten days after her election, Ms. Lumela talked about her priorities and vision for the network during an online, members-only event.

LUCI: Can you tell us more about yourself, and why you wanted your city to be President of LUCI?

Meri Lumela: I am the Chair of the City Board of Jyväskylä, and I have also been working as a teacher and school principal for many years now.

Jyväskylä is the largest city in Central Finland, and light is an integral part of its identity. We have been a member city of the LUCI network since 2006 and, as such, we are very familiar with the network and its ongoing activities.

I feel that our active participation [the city of Jyväskylä has previously been Treasurer and Vice-President] has naturally led us to this point. We are ready to bring something new to the table, and see the network grow bigger in these next two years!

LUCI: What are your main priorities and ideas for the next two years?

ML: Our priority is to work on the issues of environment, climate, and biodiversity. For example, we want to see how new technologies can help us control light pollution. The City of Jyväskylä also holds an annual light festival [Valon Kaupunki, translated as “City of Light”], and so we want to foster cultural exchanges around this topic, and create opportunities to learn from other festival organisers.

In general, we want to create spaces to share, participate and learn equally and safely from anywhere. In that regard, this particular year has shown us the importance of digital tools. We also strongly believe in the importance of research and science, and how they can be applied to improve our everyday work.

Finally, we want to build upon the existing internal organisation of the network. We want to develop the five LUCI Pillars as working groups, to allow members to work together on all the important issues covered within LUCI. Excellent work has been done so far! We want LUCI to strengthen its position on the global stage, thanks to the expertise of its members. And for that, we will need to develop new projects, and improve the way we share and learn from each other. LUCI can be an important driver for better lighting all around the world!

LUCI: You mentioned how 2020 was a particular year. How can lighting help cities in these changing times?

ML: Light affects our daily lives. We all know how the quality of a lighting design can make a difference for our quality of life. The impact of technology on our wellbeing and on human behaviour will be a big issue in the coming years.

One thing is clear: in the future, cities will need to favour the quality of their lighting, as opposed to the quantity.

The question for LUCI is: as a global network, how do we make a difference? We need to show how better lighting positively impact safety and social cohesion, or how it can improve the appeal of our cities’ public spaces.

These are, definitely, exceptional times! A lot can be done through online interaction, but we do hope to see each other in person very soon!

With about 140,000 inhabitants, Jyväskylä is the largest city in Central Finland and a major educational centre for the country. It is also known as the home of the late Alvar Aalto, one of Finland’s most celebrated architects. Light is an integral part of the city’s identity, and an annual light festival has been held since 2003.
The city is a LUCI member since 2006.

Image credits: (c) City of Jyväskylä, J. Kontinen

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