How the night can lead Cities’ recovery from Covid? whatshot

Chapter three of the Global Nighttime Recovery Plan, highlights how the pandemic presents a chance to reconfigure our cities at night for the better.

“It is time for the world to pick up the examples in this chapter and to adapt them; to create their own solutions that can be shared amongst the growing number of cities worldwide that realise that the night is not to be feared. Nightlife is in fact a shared competitive edge, a point of difference as well as a point of coherence, something woven into the very DNA of who we are.”

-Alistair Turnham (MAKE Associates),
GNRP Chapter 3 Lead

Why now?

With second-wave curfews and lockdowns proliferating across the globe, cities must urgently explore innovative ways to reopen safely in the context of COVID-19. 

As the Global Nighttime Recovery Plan (GNRP) explains, a key part of the solution can be found after dark. 

Those in the emerging field of night-centric planning, design and policy are uniquely positioned to offer alternatives to unsustainable curfews and lockdowns, or present a route out of them when appropriate. 

When space for social distance is in such high demand, urban strategies which address the temporal opportunities of the night hours can decongest valuable space and offer economic and social opportunity. 

What’s included?

GNRP Chapter 3: Innovating for Safe and Welcoming 24-Hour Cities explores case studies, challenges and possible solutions for welcoming citizens back to their cities at night, presented in three key sections:

i) The activation of our streets and urban spaces in the nocturnal hours

ii) Foregrounding the undervalued but critical role of illumination

iii) Developing more inclusive approaches to movement around our cities after dark

Ideas addressed within these sections include means of increasing access and mobility for night workers, communication campaigns and diverse offerings to entice citizens back to city centres, flexing regulations to unlock the night hours and enable business pivots, using light to create identity or encourage physical distancing – and plenty more. 

What happens next?

Whether your city is in lockdown or edging towards recovery, now is the time for urban innovation and improvement. 

The GNRP is a launch point: industry stakeholders, urban planners, academics and nightlife participants alike are encouraged to engage in this solutions-oriented global discussion, then take action within their own communities.

We invite you to…

1. Circulate the GNRP within your professional network.

2. Sign up to a Meet the Authors conference call on to discuss the chapter further and meet with its creators.

3. Determine opportunities and challenges in your city through 1:1 consultancy sessions 

4. Develop a 24-hour action plan unique to your city 

Who is behind the GNRP Chapter Three?

The GNRP project is a global collaboration of nightlife experts and advocates, led by nightlife advocacy agency VibeLab and hosted on VibeLab’s nightlife news and features platform, It aims to provide all members of the night-time ecosystem the tools and inspiration to aid their industry and city in planning and executing a responsible re-opening. 

Chapter 3 is led by Alistair Turnham (MAKE Associates) and Leni Schwendinger (International Nighttime Design Initiative).

Contributors: ElsaMarie DSilva (Red Dot Foundation) and Carlos F Pardo (, NUMO)

Interviewees: Cornelius Harris (Underground Resistance) and Dimitrios (Jim) Mastoras (Arlington County Police), Chrystel Oloukoï, PhD Candidate, Harvard University

GNRP editing and coordinating team: Michael Fichman (PennPraxis/University of Pennsylvania) , Richard Foster (Worm, Rotterdam) Lutz Leichsenring (VibeLab), Mirik Milan (VibeLab), Diana Raiselis (Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation), Andreina Seijas (Harvard University) and Jia Yuan (PennPraxis/University of Pennsylvania).

UK: Pubs and venues may turn away people not Covid-vaccinated

The Guardian reports on how Minster Nadhim Zahawi, who is in charge of UK rollout, says technology could help track who has had jab and that “people who do not get vaccinated could face severe restrictions”

“Customers who have refused a Covid-19 vaccine could be turned away by hospitality and sports venues, the government’s vaccine minister has suggested, as he discussed the idea of using technology to reopen the economy.

Nadhim Zahawi, who was appointed on Saturday to be responsible for overseeing the rollout of the jab, said that while having the vaccine would not be compulsory, businesses such as pubs and restaurants might require proof that people have been vaccinated before allowing them in.

It raises questions over whether the government might use immunity passports as a way to get people back into shops and hospitality venues after a vaccine is licensed. They are already used by some countries to see whether people have protection against yellow fever or polio.

Asked by the BBC whether those who have been inoculated would get an immunity passport, Zahawi said: “We are looking at the technology. And, of course, a way of people being able to inform their GP that they have been vaccinated. But, also, I think you’ll probably find that restaurants and bars and cinemas and other venues, sports venues, will probably also use that system – as they have done with the [test and trace] app.”

Read more about it here

New Web Survey for Sexism Free Nights

Take part in the web survey designed to research the intersections between sexual violence, nightlife environments (e.g. party spaces, going out at night) and drug use in Europe.

The aim of the study is to increase knowledge about sexism and the rape culture in different European regions, and inform policies and practices in nightlife.

Take the survey here

And follow the organisation on socials


The rapid testing will enable large-scale gatherings and events to be held in a COVID-secure environment.

Swallow Events, which is behind the kit, says it’s the first company to offer a full rapid testing screening service facility to detect COVID-19 to event organisers throughout the UK and the rest of the world. The new service offers Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency-approved 15-minute turn-around pop-up testing facilities which can be conducted by government-approved healthcare professionals on any size and scale.

Read the full article on DJ Mag

Expert contributors comment on “innovating for 24 hour cities”- Call highlights

If you missed our Meet the Authors call for the Global Nighttime Recovery Plan Chapter 3: Innovating for 24-hour cities, you can catch some of the key takeaways below.

Download the full chapter here.

Introductory remarks 

Michael Fichman (PennPraxis/University of Pennsylvania), GNRP editor and coordinator 

Alistair Turnham (MAKE Associates), chapter 3 co-lead

  • Nighttime culture doesn’t exist in isolation. We must look at all intersecting fields and services to develop a holistic plan for cities at night.
  • During this pandemic we can utilise 24 hour time to create more space
  • The chapter’s ideas are relevant now, but should also be applied in the long term, to create more resilient and dynamic cities.

“Light is the glue of the night”

– Leni Schwendinger (International Nighttime Design Initiative), Co-led the research and management the Global Nightime Recovery Plan’s third chapter.
  • “We think of the night as a time, but actually the night is a place. It’s a canvas for us to design. 
  • In doing so we must consider those of us who must be out at night – night workers or essential workers – as well as those who choose to go to the night for inspiration.
  • Light is the glue of the night. It creates legible pathways and destinations, and must be integrated into all areas of urban design.
  • Light can be used as malleable infrastructure, a flexible medium which can attract, create focus areas, and establish boundaries or separation – something especially necessary during Covid. 
  • Light is an infrastructure of modernisation, and as such not available everywhere. Chapter looks at Lagos, Nigeria as a case study. Who has their world lit and who doesn’t? And for what purpose – safety, entertainment or function?”

Carlos F Pardo (New Urban Mobility Alliance), contributor to the third chapter.

  • “In cities all over the world the first transport services that were cut when the pandemic hit were the night services.
  • Night workers rely heavily on public transport. They cannot change when they travel or simply choose not to. They need a transport service they can trust to get them somewhere safely and on time, otherwise they could be mugged, killed, or lose their employment.
  • Then there are those who travel at night by choice, and cities must also cater for their trips.  
  • Most cities are not designed for either of these transport users. Transport is traditionally planned around the work schedule of a fully-abled 35 year old male of middle income.”

Less enforcement, and more collaboration between police and community

Dimitrios (Jim) Mastoras (Nightlife Safety and Policing Consultant), interviewee
  • “Police often have an adversarial relationship with nightlife and hospitality venues, meaning operators have no incentive to ask for help, for fear it will be used against them. 
  • In Arlington County we changed this culture over time through a proactive alliance policing model, which stopped focusing on arrests, and empowered operators to improve their practices.
  • There were significant drops in alcohol related harm and violence as a result.
  • Resorting to enforcement practices is no longer good enough. We need a collaborative perspective on issues, to come up with solutions that are mutually beneficial.”

“How do we interact with the drag racing scene when there are no venues or permanent spaces, no boss or central management – simply a community? Detroit is wrestling with this issue now.”

Cornelius Harris (Underground Resistance; Detroit Berlin Connection), interviewee
  • Nightlife means something different in every city. A big feature of Detroit underground culture is illegal drag racing, where the city’s music and car cultures collide. 
  • We should help people express themselves in this non-traditional way, and find spaces for them to do so safely, instead of criminalising their behaviour.
  • People have existing ideas about who the night belongs to. A mental shift must come to acknowledge there are things of value outside the scope of our preconceived notions of the night. 
  • Address the dynamic between police and community. Police could be part of the solution, by being proactive and interactive out in the community, rather than waiting for the worst to happen before reacting. 

How to co-exist – a broader notion of planning cities at night 

Andreina Seijas (Harvard University), GNRP editor and coordinator

  • We need to bring together state and non state actors, and strengthen local alliances to cope with challenges of coexisting, and allow for decriminalization of certain activities and more flexibility of regulations. 
  • Most nighttime regulations are focused on distribution of alcohol users and licensing. We need to find a way in which we can diversify sources of revenue and distribution of activities.
  • As the field of nightlife studies grows around the world we are introduced to new perspectives – incorporating these will lead to a broader notion of planning for cities at night.

Read about global updates from the call here

Thank you to all who participated, we look forward to seeing you on the next call.

☎️ Global Updates from our call on “Innovating for safe and welcoming 24-hour cities”

Japan – Kana Ito

  • There was no official lockdown, but nightlife businesses were forced to close. Government financial support was available. 
  • 50-80% of customers back now, depending on location. Fewer customers in cbd area because risk of infection higher there. 
  • We have been nearing normal nightlife operation since October, with additional precautions like staff in masks, temperature checks and detail collection on entry. 
  • There is a possible threat of a third wave on the horizon

India – Varun Patra 

  • The crisis has shown India’s problems, and not left our leaders anywhere to hide. 
  • Hospitality has reopened in many cities, but at very low capacity – around 30%. Performance venues have also recently opened, seated only. 
  • India has always been a bit lazy in how our cities and events are run. This is the chance for us to pilot new systems and implement essential safety protocols.
  • Before the pandemic there was little to no al fresco dining in India. Bangalore has piloted this recently and other cities are likely to follow. 
  • There has been no financial support for nightlife. 
  • Livestreaming is already a tired format. We are exploring decentralized events – a hybrid model of online and offline, finding creative ways to bring alive our districts. 

Mexico – Adelina Lobo 

  • There has been no lockdown for many months despite rising cases. 
  • Restaurants are running but live music and stadium events are close. 
  • Covid parties – where people deliberately get together in order to infect themselves – are a problem. 
  • Private parties in general have become a huge issue for the government. Control is increasingly given over to criminals. 

New York City – Jose Soegaard

  • Cases are rising again.
  • Indoor seating is at 25% capacity only. Alcohol consumption must be with food, and we have a midnight curfew. 
  • Since the beginning, all ticketed performances and events have been banned. Legislation currently in congress (with bipartisan support) to give grants to performance businesses of up to 12million to help them survive the next few months. 
  • There has been an increase in outdoor activity thanks to an effective outdoor seating program which more than 10k bars and restaurants took advantage of. Happily, this program is now going to be permanent. 

Podcast: The mental health crisis and nightlife industries

The intersection between urban planning and health particularly mental health and culture is a rich conversation to unbundle.

Talented musician, artist, academic and urban planner Michael Fichman talked to a major US healthcare channel PopHealth Week about the mental health crisis in nightlife industries and how accountable, safe practices and government funding are important for saving nightlife businesses and workers.

Michael is a City Planner with experience in numerous forms of quantitative and qualitative research. He has consulting and research experience in geospatial analysis, predictive modeling, environmental planning, affordable housing development, transportation economics, strategic planning and surveying.

Listen back here

How Taiwan became a global outlier for live music, post pandemic

Having surpassed 200 days without any domestically transmitted cases, Taiwan has been enjoying festivals, concerts and pride celebrations.

Ultra festival took place in Taipei last weekend, welcoming some 10,000 fans

As Europe locks down again and the United States breaks daily records for new coronavirus infections, further paralyzing both live-music sectors, China and Taiwan have emerged as global outliers in their ability to safely host concerts for up to tens of thousands of fans.

So while U.S. and European tour schedules for 2021 are riddled with uncertainty, dates in China are filling up fast. “For next year, our calendar of bookings looks like a normal year,” says Adam Wilkes, CEO of AEG Asia, which operates Shanghai’s Mercedes-Benz Arena.

Read more on Billboard

“Shocking, enlightening and engaging”, the social and political history of dance music

“The club is the haven, a place where you can be who you want to be,” says Turner Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller near the start of Everybody in the Place

UK journalist and film-maker Ed Gillett is working on a new book titled “Party Lines” that will be released in 2023 by Picador books.

Ed’s work treats dance music as not merely a musical or cultural phenomenon, but a unique lens through which to re-examine Britain’s social and political history

“Persuasive and passionate in its argument that the the regulation of dance culture in the UK is also a history of government-sanctioned systemic prejudice, and that the simple act of going out and dancing in this country has been for many decades an inherently politicised act.”

Read the full article on The Bookseller here

The first battle for Sydney nightlife has been won

“It may not feel like it yet but – somewhere amidst the shock and shutdowns and general turmoil of 2020 – Sydney is proving itself to be a success story in the power of sustained nightlife advocacy.”

For our Nighttime features Jordan Rahlia speaks with Tyson Koh from Keep Sydney Open Party, Emily Collins MusicNSW and Libby Harris from City of Sydney on the key role advocacy has played in turning Sydney’s nightlife fortunes around.

Read the full article here