SKYLINE WORKSHOP #1 Skyline regulations

Skyroom, Tour Oxygène, Lyon 20 septembre 2013

A few initial definitions of the skyline

« The silhouettes of the city or skylines are appearances (…). A skyline is a specific way of observing and representing the city, namely one that points out the heights of the built environment, which is emphasised most from a low and distant viewpoint ».

G. Gassner (2009)

« A city has an infinite number of skylines, depending on the viewpoint and the viewing direction. Some of them might be conceived as representing a city’s spatial, social and cultural characteristics, all of them abstract the city. »

G. Gassner (2009)

SKYLINE research program

SKYLINE is an exploratory research project that combines collaborative and comparative approaches to investigate the political, economic and social dimensions of an implicit urban landscape: the skyline. The project aims at filing the existing lack of conceptualization of the skyline while multiple conflicts have emerged across European cities against various projects of tall buildings. Consisting of a pluridisciplinary team, Skyline has been assigned several goals. Our first objective consists in defining the specific combinations of views and points of views that make up the skyline, encompassing large parts of urban areas and embracing the materiality of urban societies as a whole. The other objective is to identify and understand the policy issues associated with the changes, conservation and representation of the skyline in order to formalise the skyline. This effort of formalisation allows ultimately for both enriching and shaping the public debate on the impact of towers and tall buildings on the urban landscape. The project is also innovative in linking researchers and practitioners to conduct a participatory and interactive research. Through a series of three workshops (2013-­-2015), participants are invited to construct the concept of skyline and to define the principles of its governance in Paris, Lyons and London.

The aim of the three Skyline workshops (2013-­-2015) is to enable exchanges between researchers and practitioners regarding the conceptualisation and planning of the skyline.

Though presentations and discussions, this first SKYLINE workshop intends to focus on:

  • getting to know each other by presenting the purpose of the project, our tasks and the way practitioners deal with the skyline
  • quantifying and qualifying the verticalisation process occurring in many cities today
  • gaining knowledge of existing skyline legislations in several cities across the world
  • qualifying the way the skyline is taking into account in legislations
  • and drawing theoretical and empirical knowledge from the way the skyline is dealt with.

SKYLINE SKYLINE workshop program


  • Welcome coffee
  • The research project and the return of skyscrapers


  • Welcome and introduction
  • The SKYLINE project : purpose, partners, missions
  • Question


  • Presentation 1 -­-  Assessing the last wave of towers in European cities
  • Questions and discussions

Part 1 – World cities’ skylines: Verticalisation and regulatory regimes


  • Presentation 2 -­-  NYC, Chicago, the cradle of towers and of their regulation. Have the best known skylines been forgotten? Christian Montes, Professor of geography at Lyon2 University, IRG (UMR5600)


  • Presentation 3 -­- The construction and regulation of Central Tokyo skyline: From the first skyscrapers to the contemporary verticalisation, Raphael Languillon, PhD student, Lyon2 University, IRG (UMR5600)

10h55 – 11h30

  • Questions and discussion

Part 2 – London and Paris: negociating verticalisation in the heritage city

  • 11h45 Présentation 4 –  London: Regulating tools for a contested skyline, Hermine Sanson, Senior Strategic planner officer, Greater London Authority.

12h05 – 12h45

  • Questions and discussion


  • Presentation 5 –  Paris: From conservation to derogatory urbanism in Paris Inner City, Vincent Bécue, architect and town planner at EIVP and Mons University, Vincent Labbé, postgraduate student at EIVP.

Partie 3 –Dessiner le skyline / Designing for the skyline


  • Presentation 6 – Designing a skyline for the regeneration of Rotterdam, Kees Kaan, invited professor at Technical University Delft, Co-­-founder of Claus and Kaan Architecten


  • Presentation 7 – An urban silhouette for Lyons, 1990, François Brégnac, Deputy Director of Agence d’urbanisme de Lyon, Bernard Badon, Team leader Part-­-Dieu project at Grand Lyon

15h30 -­- 16h00

  • Questions and discussion

16h20 -­- 17h15

  • REFLEXIONS, PERSPECTIVES/ Discussion and perspectives

17h15 – 18h30

  • Interviews des participants par Christian Montès et Philippe Fricaud ( / interviews of participants

The SKYLINE team Coordinatation

  • Manuel Appert, Université Lyon 2, IRG-­-EVS (UMR 5600) -­- Laboratoire Environnement, Ville, Société (EVS -­- UMR5600)
  • Isabelle Lefort – isabelle.lefort@univ-­
  • Christian Montès –
  • Martine Drozdz – martine.drozdz@univ­
  • Raphael Languillon –
  • Florence Jacquinod –
  • Gestion : Anne-Laure Gras – Anne-­Laure.Gras@univ­ Ecole des Ingénieurs de la Ville de Paris (EIVP)
  • Vincent Bécue –
  • Laurent Ducourtieux – laurent.ducourtieux@eivp-­
  • Claire Saint Pierre – claire.saint-­-pierre@eivp-­
  • Claire Rossignol – claire.rossignol@eivp-­
  • Vincent Labbé – Vincent.labbe@eivp-­ Laboratoire d’informatique en image et systèmes d’information (LIRIS)
  • Serge Miguet –
  • Loreta Suta – L’Agence d’Urbanisme pour le développement de l’agglomération lyonnaise (AUL)
  • François Brégnac –
  • Pascale Simard –
  • Sébastien Sperto –
  • Gestion : Séverine Jourdan –

The SKYLINE team thanks Séverine Jourdan for organizing this first SKYLINE workshop and ONLYLYON for the use of the Skyroom.

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