Schwanen, T., van Aalst, I., Brands, J., & Timan, T.
Schwanen, T., van Aalst, I., Brands, J., & Timan, T. (2012). Rhythms of the night: Spatiotemporal inequalities in the nighttime economy. Environment and Planning A, 44(9), 2064–2085. https://doi.org/10.1068/a44494
The authors seek to extend the literature on inequalities and exclusion in the nighttime economy through a rhythmic analysis of visitor presence in public space in nightlife districts in the city centres of the Dutch cities of Groningen, Utrecht, and Rotterdam. Substantial inequalities in visitor presence, based on race/ethnicity and gender, are demonstrated. In the cities considered, racial/ethnic inequalities vary more in spatial terms, and gender inequalities fluctuate more heavily over the course of the night. Overall, however, the findings support the argument that exclusion from the nighttime economy needs to be understood in temporal—ecological terms. Multiple drivers, or pacemakers, of rhythmic inequalities rooted in race/ethnicity and gender are identified, including opening hours and revellers' collective habits. For advocates of greater diversity among nighttime-economy participants, the analysis suggests that neither a more varied supply of nightlife premises, nor more surveillance and policing, are straightforward solutions: a strong orientation of premises toward university students and urban professionals may promote gender-based inclusion, but deters nonwhite revellers, and more police on the street may empower women to move through a nightlife district unaccompanied yet reduce the inclination to do so among racial/ethnic minorities.
The authors argue that exclusion from the nighttime economy needs to be understood in temporal-ecological terms and in this study found substantial inequalities along gender and racial/ethnic lines. Four main conclusions were derived: 1) the number of bars/clubs was the strongest determinate of visitor presence; 2) time and place indicators were most strongly coupled; 3) the number of police and private security is positively correlated with visitor presence while police cars and the wearing of security devices were negatively correlated; and 4) disorderliness had no direct effect on pacemaking. Racial/ethnic diversity is driven more by structural factors than rhythms while gender inequalities are rhythm driven. The results challenge the belief that more policing and surveillance is necessary in attracting more and diverse crowds.
Description of method used in the article
This study was exploratory using empirical, mixed methods. Systematic field observations in three city centers (180, ten minute observations) utilized chronogeographical and Lefebvrian rhythm analysis concepts. OLS regression with 6 indicators (nightlife facilities around observation site, surveillance and policing, disorderliness, smellscape, weather, time and place) was used for analysis.
Of practical use