Urban night

Abstract : Just like the human body, cities are bound by the rhythm of the transition between day and night. We are familiar with the city in daytime and have studied it closely, but the night-time city is too often forgotten. In Northern regions, cities where daylight in the wintertime is fleeting cities have long carried out “daytime” activities in darkness. However, the colonization of night is occurring in other regions as well. As a period of darkness symbolized by curfews, by the halting of all activity and the closing of city gates, night-time was considered for centuries to be a time of social rest. In a society that is re-thinking its nychthemera, night-time has a great deal to say to day-time and to the future. Today, this neglected time-space is very much coveted. More and more, human activities are unfolding during the night, constructing a new domain of work and leisure. Our hyper modern society, characterized by disruptions to the social division of time, marked by the individualization of behavior, change in work rhythms and a new importance accorded to free time, transcended the barrier of darkness. The night-time city, as a caricature of the day, reveals the human condition and requires our full attention. The colonization of the night is accelerating under the continuous pressure of economic and other networks. The city is liberating itself from natural constraints and living according to an increasingly expanded sense of time. Urban life now requires the permanent availability of services, for which our institutions are not prepared. New structures are being set up and new players are emerging to colonize newly conflictual, “polychromic” spaces. Tensions between inhabitants, communities and city neighborhoods living at several different rhythms are becoming more intense. Caught between liberty and insecurity, the city that sleeps, the city that plays and the city that works do not always coexist peacefully. Tensions appear in the archipelago of urban nights. New struggles and new boundaries are emerging to undermine coexistence. Confronted with these rapid changes, metropolises are adapting themselves. Users and other actors are experimenting with the night and transforming it. The night has become an open platform for innovation. Through public policies and everyday innovations, solutions emerging in the night may come to be of interest to the day. Everywhere, new research seeks to comprehend the complexity of urban nights: their temporalities, territories, culture, economy, environment, tourism, creativity, quality of life, lighting, conflict management or social justice. The juxtaposition of viewpoints brings hope for new sorts of hybridization, new projects between researchers, professionals, and public or private players building new logics of sustainable development. These concerns are the focus of this issue entitled The Urban Night: A Time Space of Innovation, in which we offer international perspectives which treat urban nights as territories of conflict and innovation. We believe that the life styles and urban practices of tomorrow’s city are taking form in this transient, cyclical space. Quite clearly, the contours of new forms of urban development and new versions of daytime and night-time urbanity are to be glimpsed here.
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Contributor : Luc Gwiazdzinski <>
Submitted on : Saturday, November 19, 2016 - 3:21:40 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, December 13, 2018 - 10:05:30 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-01399561, version 1



Luc Gwiazdzinski, Chausson Nicolas. Urban night. Luc Gwiazdzinski. France. Articulo, 2015, ⟨https://journals.openedition.org/articulo/2595⟩. ⟨halshs-01399561⟩



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