By JAMES RUSH
With the majority of the world's population now living in cities and towns a new breed of designers are coming through to help create urban settings a little more pleasing to the eye.
The world's first ever school for mural art has opened in Lyon, the global leader in the field, in a bid to meet the demand for artworks which can transform cityscapes.
The EcholCite School of Mural Art specialises in teaching students how to create art that covers entire sides of multi-storey buildings, as seen across Lyon.
The school's founder Gilbert Coudene said the city featured 150 murals, which had led it to become the world's capital of the art form, attracting tourists from across the world, the BBC has reported.
Mr Coudene said this had provided the spark for the school, which he hoped would pass on the knowledge of mural painting.
He said: 'We are responding to what we know to be a very strong demand all over the world to modify the way cities look, to make them more beautiful but also to create more social links through aesthetic tools, such as mural painting.'
Mr Coudene said the demand had grown as more and more people moved from the country to urban settings.
He told the BBC: 'Up to the days of our grandfathers life was rural, there was very few towns, but today 60 per cent of the world's people live in cities.
'It all happened so quickly, thousands of years in the country then suddenly in the city, and it means in the city we focus too much on the functional and not on all the other elements, the emotional, the aesthetic, which are what make the difference between animals and human beings.'