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Making darkness a place-based resource: how the fight against light pollution reconfigures rural areas in France

Abstract : Light pollution refers to the degradation of darkness through the use of artificial light at night in and around human infrastructures. This pollution is intrinsically related to urbanization and spills out from urban areas to affect both rural and protected areas. Several countries are organizing the fight against light pollution. There, local communities are experimenting with environmental policies designed to protect darkness. The challenge is about preserving biodiversity and fostering the energy transition. In France, a number of pioneering rural areas are experimenting with mechanisms that include this dual implication. Two of them provide the case study for this article. We show how these areas turn darkness into a specific resource. We identify three specification processes. The first obeys an anthropocentric utilitarian rationale and is part of the “economicization” of the environment in the line of shallow ecology. The second follows a rationale of ecocentric conservation and is part of the radical ecologization of the economy, in line with deep ecology. The third is in keeping with an integrated socioecosystemic rationale enshrining the interdependence between development, planning, the preservation of biodiversity, and energy savings. Local areas are plagued with specification controversies. These areas become incubation rooms; that is, spaces for resolving these controversies. These are reflected in a transition operator enabling the local area to take a fresh trajectory in terms of development and planning.
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Contributor : Théoriser Et Modéliser Pour Aménager (umr 6049) Université de Bourgogne Franche-Comté <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, May 19, 2020 - 4:34:25 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - 1:47:19 AM



Dany Lapostolle, Samuel Challéat. Making darkness a place-based resource: how the fight against light pollution reconfigures rural areas in France. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2020, ⟨10.1080/24694452.2020.1747972⟩. ⟨hal-02612864⟩



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