suggested. And working alongside landscape architects,
Narboni’s team experimented with lighter paving to
boost brightness in this dimmer light.
‘Trying to negotiate with politicians and technicians
‘Two thousand hours of the Paris
took over a year. In the end we took them to one street in
Clichy Batignolles where we’d been experimenting with
these ideas. They thought the street was bright. When
we told them it was just 10 lux they couldn’t believe it
was so low. But they didn’t accept our proposals: they
were worried residents would complain. Everyone is for
reducing light pollution but as soon as you demonstrate
what that means there’s reticence.’
Fear of the dark is an entrenched demon. The perception
among electors that it generates violence and crime
make politicians most afraid of ‘taking risks’, he argues.
‘We have statistics from police proving 80 per cent of
major crimes take place in daylight. Politicians aren’t
prepared to take a chance so we need to educate and
build trust slowly.’
This process, he says, doesn’t faze him: designers,
landscape architects and architects are there to help
define a city’s future, not its tomorrow. ‘Some just
create, they don’t think what the city could or should be
like in 20 years. You have to have vision, not get stuck in
the everyday world.’
Happily, outside Paris public officials are ‘less
conservative’. In the northwest French city of Rennes,
Narboni has proposed a new lighting strategy that places
entire zones in total darkness, while others are barely lit.
‘They accepted the concept. All they wanted to know
was how to apply it. And that’s what we’re working on
now,’ he says, with a broad grin.
nighttime annually are accounted for by
lighting architectural buildings.
We say stop that: apply it where there