Diana Raiselis & Juma Assiago
Tuesday, June 28, 2022
It’s impossible to achieve safer cities without thinking about the night. Nighttime has a specialized set of safety and equity concerns: the needs of nighttime workers, safer nighttime mobility, equitable access to public space, and simply feeling safe in one’s own neighborhood. For a long time, cities have not considered nightlife as a priority for security of their citizens, but rather a key part of attractiveness to residents and visitors.
However, to ensure a sustainable approach to security, local authorities must recognize that cities are used differently at night than in the daytime, and require targeted policies and actions. Urban dwellers increasingly expect night-time public services and leisure activities out of office hours, seven days a week. Furthermore, during this specific time period, we observe an emergence of potential conflicts of use between the "city that sleeps," the "city that works," and the "festive city" of celebration and culture.
The night is still under-examined in urban forums, and more data and analysis is needed to better understand nighttime cities. However, nighttime is also a rich source of innovation and experimentation. Nightlife often serves as ‘safe(r) space’ for marginalized communities, or as experimentation space for creating new forms of community care. Practices and mindsets from nightlife creators can be integrated into city strategy to promote safety, social cohesion, inclusion, and all residents’ sense of belonging.
Through a series of lightning talks, followed by panel discussion and exchange between panelists and members of the Global Parliament of Mayors, this session will first define a conceptual framework for a more holistic approach to safer urban nights, showcase good practices from cities and cultural creators around the world, and finally, launch VibeLab and UN-Habitat Safer Cities' new SAFETYLAB, with clear opportunities for involvement and further engagement.
This session is co-presented by VibeLab, European Forum for Urban Security (Efus) and the Efus Women in Cities Initiative (WICI), the Global Parliament of Mayors, and UN-Habitat Safer Cities.
This event is the first session in WUF history with a focus on urban nighttime. The session will seek to establish a shared definition and understanding of "safer nights," and then showcase examples of good practice from cities worldwide.
In addition to highlighting good-practice examples, this session asks contributors to propose potential indicators that can provide deeper insight into urban safety and security beyond traditional crime metrics. As UN-Habitat’s Urban Safety Monitor continues to evolve, these proposed metrics will feed directly into Lab activities of generating and validating new indicators for urban safety and wellbeing.
Finally, this session serves as a launch for the Safer Cities by Night initiative, and provide clear opportunities for involvement.