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, Nighttime.org. 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 (despacio.org, 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).

NSW State Government announces plan for 24-hr city, in a push to reinvigorate Sydney nightlife.

Sydney CBD at night (Photo: Patrick McLachlan, via Pexel)

The State government of NSW, Australia has announced a 24-hour economy strategy to reinvigorate Sydney’s nighttime industries and culture.

The strategy’s recommendations include appointing a coordinator-general to oversee Greater Sydney’s 24-hour economy, fewer restrictions on liquor licensing and live music, extended opening hours for cultural institutions and more late-night public transport options.

The strategy states:

“At its core, our objective is to create a 24-hour city that is world renowned for its vibrancy, diversity, safety and access to amenity right throughout the day and night. To compete on the world stage and create jobs, we must have a fantastic afterdark experience and 24-hour amenities for all to enjoy.

Our status as a 24-hour metropolis is critical as we continue to expand our economy to cater for the needs of a growing population and reinforce Sydney’s position as a truly global city, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which requires us all to reimagine how we use space and increase productivity throughout the 24-hours of each day.”

The announcement shows a positive shift in state government attitudes towards Sydney’s nighttime industries, which have suffered under years of draconian lock-out laws, hostile policy and rhetoric, and are currently in crisis due to COVID restrictions.

In further good news, Sydney City Council has also recently announced plans to help hospitality businesses spread outdoors in order to stay financially viable whilst complying with physical distancing regulations. The vision involves pedestrianising large sections of road in the inner city, and streamlining permission and licensing schemes for outdoor entertaining.

The Sydney plans mimic the al fresco drinking and dining experiments that have been successfully implemented in many northern hemisphere cities this summer, as explored in the Global Nighttime Recovery Plan’s first chapter.

Tokyo Government pays clubs and hostess bars to close

Tokyo authorities will pay host workers who contract coronavirus 100,000 yen ($934) to stay off work.

Tokyo, the Japanese capital recorded 224 coronavirus cases on Thursday, the highest daily tally since the pandemic began.

The Authorities had previously refused to give nightlife businesses economic support during the pandemic, but have changed tack after 80% of Thursday’s infections were among people in their 20s and 30s.

Many of them were identified after more than 3,000 tests were carried out in Tokyo entertainment districts, including Shinjuku and Ikebukuro.

The Tokyo metropolitan government will pay 500,000 yen ($4,670) to nightclubs and similar establishments that close for 10 days or more.

Hosts and hostesses, who engage customers in conversation over drinks, who are found to have coronavirus are to be paid 100,000 yen ($934) to stay off work.

Read the full feature written by Gavin Blair for the Guardian

Berlin’s Senate reaffirms commitment to protect the city’s nightlife through new legislation.

“Recognise and strengthen club culture as part of Berlin”

The Berlin Senate of the German capital, has stated that Berlin clubs should be better protected against oppression. In doing so the Senate has declared that clubs should be recognised as cultural sites. This is evident by a government application from the SPD, Left and Greens.

Club culture is a cultural asset which played a major role in shaping social, cultural and economic life in Berlin. Berlin clubs generate billions of dollars in annual revenue for the city, building connections to places and drawing global tourism. Club culture also enriches the cultural landscape of Berlin far beyond the pure “entertainment culture”. They create identity, are open spaces or even shelters for marginalised groups and intervene in urban politics. They make Berlin a city worth living in, with many people from different social and cultural backgrounds with values that stand for diversity and tolerance.

On June 12th, the government factions submitted an application to honour them, but also to protect them. Clubs worthy of protection are those which “have regular game play and a recognised artistic profile, which is characterised by a curated program, music aesthetic standards and a spatial concept,” it says.

According to the application, new building projects in the country should take clubs into account and builders themselves should provide noise protection in case of doubt.

“In addition to the current corona restrictions, these clubs are increasingly threatened in their existence due to competition in use,” states the application paper.

In particular, the rising commercial rents and crowding out by approaching residential buildings are a problem. The parliamentary groups also spoke out in favour of strengthening the country’s noise protection fund and also highlight the international appeal of the program.

The club scene association and the “parliamentary forum for club culture and nightlife”, an association of members of the five parliamentary groups Bündnis 90 / DIE GRÜNEN, SPD, DIE LINKE, FDP and CDU, have been promoting clubs in terms of building law for cultural purposes for a long time to be classified as places of amusement.

Clubcommission Berlin welcomes the decision:

“We are very happy about the confirmation of club culture that made the city of Berlin so significant and colourful. We curate our programs as well as opera houses or theatres and are therefore also cultural companies. Densification, advancing housing developments and real estate speculation are a sword of Damocles that we club operators can usually not avert on their own. With its clearly defined mandate to consider clubs as cultural facilities in urban planning in the future and to apply the agent-of-change principle, the Senate is sending a clear signal in the fight against the displacement of our venues. We are particularly pleased about the planned Federal Council initiative, in which Berlin will campaign for a reform of the Building Usage Ordinance and for the recognition of clubs at the federal level. “

Good vibrations: how Bandcamp became the heroes of streaming

Bandcamp favourites … Ana Roxanne, Björk and Dam Funk. Composite: Tammy Nguyen; Getty Images; Clayton Andrew Rasmussen

Chal Ravens writes for The Guardian about the virtues of Bandcamp.

After speaking to Founder Ethan Diamond, the ” CEO of Bandcamp about what it means to put artists before listeners, and how Bandcamp became the rarest of Silicon Valley stories; a slow burn success.

“They waive their fees, raise cash for Juneteenth and champion everything from vapourware to eco-grime.

‘Artists have to come first’ … Ethan Diamond, founder of Bandcamp.

“A lot of independent labels waived their fees as well. Some gave to food banks and other organisations. Those labels aren’t big corporations … that was amazing to see”

Read the full article in the Guardian

What is the future of partying in a post-pandemic world?

In some countries, clubs are cautiously reopening. In others, people are hitting up illegal raves. Gabriel Szatan explores what the dance music landscape will look like in the immediate aftermath of coronavirus.

“Everywhere you look, clubland is thawing and green shoots of recovery are sprouting.”

Read full article on Dazed here

Berlin’s famed nightclubs have been silenced by COVID-19. Can they bounce back?

Visitors dancing at the “Cookies Cream” in Berlin, Germany, before the coronavirus pandemic struck

“The signals we get from the experts are that the club culture is not possible until there is a vaccine,” said Lutz Leichsenring.

While some parts of the country’s economy are starting to emerge from the lockdown, Berlin’s vibrant club scene is facing perhaps the biggest challenge in its history, with no clear answers on when it might resume.

“The signals we get from the experts are that the club culture is not possible until there is a vaccine,” Lutz Leichsenring, spokesman for a commission representing 300 clubs in Berlin, said.

He said the situation is “devastating” for the industry, which was already struggling with gentrification and rising real estate prices.

Many of the 9,000 people employed in the city’s clubs have been left without work. And for the owners, costs are still accumulating even as the revenue has completely dried up.

Read the full article here

Licence freeze lifted on pubs and nightclubs in Sydney after 11 years

The state government has scrapped a long-standing freeze on new liquor licences for pubs, clubs and bottle shops in Sydney’s CBD and Kings Cross, in a push to reinvigorate the city’s night-time economy once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

The changes, which take effect on December 1, mean venues will be able to apply to open without having to purchase a liquor licence from an existing venue, which had created a competitive and expensive market for licences.

In Kings Cross and some parts of the CBD, the freeze had been in place for 11 years. As part of the 2014 lockout laws it was extended across the whole CBD.

Read more about it here

+++UPDATE: Beirut’s Nightlife Survived Civil War. Can It Withstand Pandemic?

Old concert and show posters lining a wall on Geimezei Street

Vivian Lee, writes for the New York Times on whether nightlight in Lebanon’s capital can withstand the pandemic. 

In Beirut a night out is considered a “sacred right, due to a point of pride, the party has never stopped,” even throughout the 25 years of civil war, the summer of 2006 (where war erupted between Hezbollah and Israel), and last autumn anti government protests the bars and clubs remained open. 

However. “the bar hopping neighborhood of Mar Mikhaël, which used to vibrate with the clip-clop of high heels and the car-stereo beat of Western and Arabic music every night from Tuesday to Saturday — and sometimes Sundays and Mondays, too — went mute” 

“When you live in a place where nothing is stable and the ground is shaking under you all the time, you live in a state of urgency,” said Charbel Haber, 41, a musician, giving the usual explanation for why the nights here can go on for days. “You have to live in the moment.”

Although Lebanon as a whole appears to have dodged a mass outbreak, “the government is starting to announce a staggered reopening for businesses in the coming weeks, yet not all will be able to come back. Due to the fact that the Lebanese pound buys less than half of what it used to, imports and drinks will cost more”. 

Concerned club owner:  “Joe Mourani, the owner of Ballroom Blitz, a popular alternative electronic-music nightclub, found it harder to foresee when people would dance in a crowd again. Clubbing, it’s really all about proximity,” Mr. Mourani said. “It’s the opposite of social distancing.”

To read the full featured head to the New York Times

+++UPDATE: Italian Club Donates Space to Emergency Services

Milan club Social Music City has offered its space to be used by Italian emergency services until the end of April.

In a statement released this week, it was revealed that the club’s 20,000 square meters would be made available to emergency services in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, which much of the space being modified into accommodation for 

Head to DJ mag to read the full statement