What is the value of the (starry) night? Geo-economic reflections on the assessment of the night and the starry sky through their protection in the territories

Abstract : Environmental crises renew questions about the values associated with the “objects of nature”. In this context, there is an endogeneisation of these values in the economic field, by assigning an economic value to the various items and services related to the ecosystem. The neo-classical approach to the environment, however, faces the problem of damages and profits commensurability. In fact, the evaluation process can not avoid the issue of socio-spatial construction of associated environmental goods values. Two emergent specific environmental goods illustrates these valuation difficulties : the night and the starry sky. The negative impact of excess artificial light are now being studied by various fields of knowledge (especially ecology, medicine), but the question of located values associated with the night sky and its stars remains current and overturns a paradigm : it is the darkness of certain territories which can makes their value by a new consideration of sociocultural (welfare, scientific heritage, landscape resource) and ecosystem services (regulation and self-sustaining ecosystem, circadian cycle, etc.) they produce. Because the night and the starry sky are complex and unbargainable pure collective goods, the ability to characterize their value is derived from processes that have cognitive and spatial dimensions. Thus, since the end of 2000s, initiatives of certification of dark sky protected areas are growing worldwide. They stress an increasing concern about the problems of light pollution caused by the socioeconomic activities. That place the night and the starry sky in the center of new territorial considerations. This communication aims to interrogate the valorization process of the night and starry sky, and the types of services they provide to the territories. We question how value is geographically produced, with three entries. (i) What is the position of the objects “night” and “starry sky” in the field of ecosystem services ? (ii) How the value of these objects is produced from new territorial action devices ? (iii) In return, how these territories convert these services to bring them to local resources, localized competitive advantages, and thus create value from them ?
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Contributor : Samuel Challéat <>
Submitted on : Friday, November 28, 2014 - 10:56:22 AM
Last modification on : Friday, June 14, 2019 - 6:31:06 PM

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Samuel Challéat, Thomas Poméon. What is the value of the (starry) night? Geo-economic reflections on the assessment of the night and the starry sky through their protection in the territories. 2nd International Conference on Artificial Light At Night (ALAN 2014), LONNE Network (COST action), Sep 2014, Leicester, United Kingdom. ⟨hal-01088553⟩

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