Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Night Shift
View graph of relations

Night Shift: rethinking and reclaiming the city after dark?

Research output: Contribution to conference - Without ISBN/ISSN Conference paper

Unpublished
Publication date23/04/2021
<mark>Original language</mark>English
EventAugmented Cities - Where did the night go?: Night spaces: migration, culture and integration in Europe (NITE) - Humboldt-Universität , Berlin, Germany
Duration: 21/04/202123/04/2021
https://www.euroethno.hu-berlin.de/de/termine/augmented-cities

Conference

ConferenceAugmented Cities - Where did the night go?
CountryGermany
CityBerlin
Period21/04/2123/04/21
Internet address

Abstract

The 24/7 gig economy is sharpening existing inequalities and consolidating them around the clock due to the just-in-time convenience that the digitally-networked city provides. For some it is the end of sleep within the traditional timeframe of night. Meanwhile, banished by more and more artificial lighting at night, darkness is fast becoming a sought-after luxury by those that can afford it. Until recently, the need and desire to manage and control the urban night led to the spatialisation of its economy, driven by practices of consumption. However, the coronavirus pandemic has physically manifest itself in different ways through forms of lockdown, restriction, and curfew. In the UK, this has meant the nocturnal city has temporarily been the domain of assigned key workers, with a degree of this labour operating precariously. Emptied of much of the previous business that operated in cities at night and its spectacle prior to the pandemic, nocturnal urban landscapes in lockdown offer a distinct place and time through which we might reconsider the city at night.

This paper, therefore, seeks to respond to the following themes: urban development and the 24-hour city; light pollution, expansion of digital nocturnal infrastructures; and cultural expressions and narratives of the night/24-hour city. Manchester, UK, is undergoing extensive replacement of its 56,000 streetlights with LED bulbs. This comprehensive rollout is based on energy-saving and resultant economic savings. But such strategies belie the differences and resistances to such transformation that persist. This paper draws upon ongoing autoethnographic fieldwork and collaborative practices based in the city to explore the entanglements between light and dark, work and respite, cost and benefit, creativity and place. Given the global onslaught of over-illumination and the malign social, health, environmental and aesthetic affects this continues to perpetrate, how can we rethink and reclaim the city after dark?