Planner Says A City Doesn’t Go To Sleep At Night

CHAUTAUQUA — A city’s nighttime economy exists from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

“The world is a great organism that doesn’t stop when we go to bed,” Sheena Jardine-Olade said.

As part of the theme “The World of Nighttime,” Jardine-Olade, an urban planner, shared her thoughts with an Amphitheater audience Thursday about a holistic view of what a flourishing nighttime economy can look like for cities — especially following and amidst the pandemic — and how a vibrant nightlife can create a more robust civic identity and social infrastructure.

Jardine-Olade, contends people don’t visit a city, unless there’s actually something to really draw them there. When people go to a city, she said, they like to consider some its characteristics including restaurants, live music venues, sporting events, museums, beautiful architecture, and ambiance.

“No one visits a city to see a great road,” Jardine-Olade said.

So, she said, she tried to find a definition of NTE (nighttime economy). She found many definitions, and most of them revealed one thing — activity in the night. She noted some examples include informal parties, live music sector, hospitality, sex industry, festivals, food and alcohol delivery platforms, digital events, and 24-hour trades.

The planner said there are three levels of NTE. Level one includes live music, clubs, restaurants, evening games, casinos, theaters, operas, night markets. street festivals, and fireworks. Level two includes doctors, nurses, firefighters, police officers and safety services, airports and transportation workers.

“They’re all an integral part of the way this world works in both the daytime as well as the nighttime,” she added.

Level three includes sanitation workers, factory workers, hotel staff, 24-hour convenience and grocery store employees, and gig workers.

She said one of the benefits of a NTE is efficiency, because 24-hour cities keep their economies running day and night.

“The reputations of cities are built at night and a vibrant nightlife rooted in a unique local culture can establish a city or town as a place to be for authentic experiences that can’t be found anywhere else,” she said.

Jardine-Oladed noted that within the last 10 years started to consider the impacts of NTE on their local economies. In 2020, China’s nighttime economy grossed $2.4 trillion. In 2017, tourists in Toronto spent $4.38 billion on nighttime tourism. Nighttime activities contribute to 4 percent of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 6 percent of the United Kingdom’s GDP. One out of every eight jobs in London happens at night. In Berlin 35 percent of tourists take part in NT activities with 150,000 people visiting every weekend to take part in the night activities.

“For New York City, the nighttime economy brings in $35.1 billion a year and has created 300,000 jobs,” she said.

She said negativity also surrounds NTE which includes crime prevention, public safety, and noise concerns because some cities appear more unsafe at night, but cities are trying to balance the negative and positive aspects.

The planner referred to Shane Shapiro, founder and CEO of Sound Diplomacy based out of San Francisco and the UK. According to her, he said “A thriving daytime and evening economy does not mean a bar or a music venue on every street corner. It’s about a regulated planned and strategic offer that respects those who want quiet as well as those who like to go out.”

She noted that strategic planning supports proactive strategies that ensures that people are afforded the choice and the opportunity to move around at whatever time and wherever they want equally.

Mirik Milan, a former night mayor of Amsterdam from 2012 to 2018, and founder of Vibelab had stated, that planning a city for nighttime activities is no different than planning a city for daytime — it has not been done before, she referenced.

She also noted that NTE strategies fall into three categories: public safety, revitalization and tourism, and resource distribution. Public safety, she said, a 24-hour city can improve public safety by providing additional eyes on the streets. Revitalization and tourism can be achieved when cities use tools like extended hours, tax breaks, and other bonus incentives to encourage business development with the hopes of attracting culture and creative development often the purpose is to re-energize downtown cores that have lost people or mass due to suburbanization or post industry activity, she said. Resource distribution includes city officials realizing that NTE is an extension of the daytime economy. Politicians, policymakers and planners, she added, realize city residents need access to amenities and essential services — the same ones they require during the day — at night.

So, she asked a vital question to audience members — What goes bump in the night?

“Well, me, and hopefully you too.

According to assembly.chq.org, Jardine-Olade is a co-founder of Night Lab, a research, strategy, policy and engagement consultancy group that focuses on the nighttime economy, and a cultural equity and accessibility planner for the City of Vancouver.

Night Lab, founded in 2019, is a collection of researchers, artists and designers working to help unlock the creative and economic potential of cities’ nightlife. Before working as a social planner at the City of Vancouver, Jardine-Olade worked with the Canadian Institute of Planners as the manager of strategic initiatives and an analyst at Sustainable Calgary. Her projects have included Sustainable Calgary’s “State of our City Report,” Active Neighbourhoods’ “Participatory Planning Toolkit,” Indigenous speaker series REDx Talks and ArtsDance, a symposium that brought Indigenous and settler creators and educators together for a day of cultural exchange.

Additionally, while working toward her Master’s in Urban Planning, Jardine-Olade started Freq. Magazine, a print publication about arts, culture and issues in urban environments. Her experience as a planner and musical performer has led people to seek her expertise on various committees regarding music cities and cultural policy strategies since 2014.

Jardine-Olade received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and chemistry from Canadian University College, a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental management from Mount Royal College, and a Master of Urban Planning from The University of Calgary.


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