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– In this month’s column Alan Miller, of the The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), looks at the prospect of London finally getting a 24-hour transport system, and how it will benefit nightlife culture and business alike –

INTO THE NIGHT

UP ALL NIGHT, CAN WE HANDLE A 24-HOUR CITY? The night tube, when it arrives, will make a fantastic and much-needed contribution to London; any city wishing to be truly modern must enable its population to have mobility. In Britain we have suffered from a somewhat low-horizon outlook with regard to massive large-scale infrastructure projects – whether that be in transport or housing – and the night tube from TFL will, simply put, make London better. When thinking about whether we can ‘handle’ a 24-hour city the question we are really asking is: what kind of country, what kind of world, do we want to live in? In Marshall Berman’s All That Is Solid Melts In To Air we are taken on a historic and political journey through various cities that experience enormous modernising changes: from Amsterdam and the canals, to Paris with Haussmann’s boulevards, which went onto inform the city planners of New York City and Central Park designers such as Olmstead and Law. Modern cities should provide a place for people from around the globe to come and dream and make their visions a reality. Being able to navigate them with an advanced transport system is imperative. Being able to shape our days, around increasingly flexible working hours, is vital. If you work in an ad agency, corresponding with Beijing and São Paulo across the hours, why can we not in London – as one currently can in Paris and Barcelona – come out and have a croissant and glass of wine at five in the morning? What is suspected about British citizens and our visitors that suggests we cannot be trusted, or allowed to have that freedom? The combination of licensing limitations imposed on so many London venues, and the increasing restrictions on security, entrance

and monitoring, has been resulting in people voting with their feet every weekend and heading to Berlin and Barcelona to enjoy the more relaxed and less regulated atmosphere there. Having just been at Amsterdam Dance Festival on a panel, it was impressive to note that the entire city gets behind the huge contribution of the night time industries and economy. Even when I landed at Schiphol Airport they were tweeting and welcoming delegates to the event and city. This is a smart approach to an enormously creative and innovative sector that, in Britain, we have very little of – it pays back massive economic and cultural dividends to the city and citizens alike. Having a 24-hour culture, with professionally run venues and a host of businesses makes city life better, easier and more enjoyable. I’m always impressed when in parts of Asia, or in NYC, when all types of workers, businesses and visitors can participate fully in the city around the clock. We definitely need this in London. However, there are some extremely difficult issues we have to deal with, ranging from local councils who hold on to an old script that night time = noise, nuisance and crime. In fact, we believe the opposite. The night time industry = economic benefits and enormous cultural value. Here’s to TFL and the unions working out their agreement speedily so that London can take the place it deserves as a strong and vibrant 24-hour city, where people can go dancing, clubbing, to the hairdresser, gymnasium, museum or simply enjoy a quiet cup of tea – at any time of day and night.

For more information and to become a member of the NTIA visit: ntia.co.uk online: @wearethentia // facebook.com/wearethentia

LiS 67

London in Stereo // November 2015  

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