New York City is a city which has been famous for its night life and even the tourism of the city is majorly based on its night life. However, the monopoly of New York City is no longer there due to a number of cities following the footsteps of New York City and opening their gates to the night time life. This is the reason why a number of cities have seen a growth in their businesses operating between 6 pm and 6 am across the globe, all thanks to the night time economy (Scrimgeour, 2016). London is amongst the list of these cities and is becoming a vibrant 24 hours a day city. This is the reason why the Mayor of London wants to make it the night time economy and culture, a richer proposition (Greater London Authority, 2017). And this is not just limited to London, and can be seen in different parts of the United Kingdom, for instance Manchester. Through this discussion, an attempt has been made to throw some light on what exactly this night time economy is, along with its benefits and limitations.
The night time economy covers the goods, services and experiences which are related to the night life conduct. It is particularly marked with leisure experiences like clubbing, entertainment, music and the intake of alcohol and food. There are three key characteristics or features of night time economy. The first one is based on the consumption of alcohol in large quantities, in which the consumers are persuaded to be intoxicated and drunk. The second feature relates to the primary orientation of the night life economy on the young people, particularly between the ages of 18 to 35, which reflects the success of the brewing industry’s marketing strategies particularly in the last 25 years. This marketing is aimed at attaining the interests of the young male and female drinkers. The last feature of this is the concentration of market in the city centre and the town entertainment zones (Hobbs, 2003).
Night time economy is a major shift from the earlier routines of working at fixed time and has been created with the advent of flexible working times and the temporary kinds of working. There has been a major reorientation of the urban governance which involves a trend moving towards entrepreneurial stance instead of being focused on the managerial functions of local service provisions, in order to facilitate economic growth (Montgomery, 2008). This is the reason why the local authorities are promoting the growth of the local night time economy. This can be seen in the Supplementary Planning Guidance formed in context of London by the Mayor. The aim of this guide is to provide the necessary direction on protecting and enhancing cultural venues, along with focusing on the manner in which protection can be provided at pubs. This guidance is also aimed at promotion of night time cultural offer and night time economy, and making this culture more accessible and inclusive (Greater London Authority, 2017).
In attempts to promote the night time economy, some derelict buildings are also being sold to the national pub chains and are being turned into drinking establishment. Back in 2014, the Elinor Lupton Centre was purchased by the pub chain JD Wetherspoon, which had earlier been a music centre and a theatre which belonged to the Leeds Girls’ High School. Since 2010, the building had been derelict. With this purchase, the pub chain promised to create fifty jobs with the new pub and also to spend £1.5million on the refurbishment (McCarthy, 2014). Another example of this is the conversion of HSBC which is located at Market Street in Holmfirth, into a drinking establishment. However, this claim has been denied till now, but there is enough evidence to show this plan in motion (Lavigueur, 2017). The focus of night time economy is majorly on the drinks industry and in this regard, different attempts are being made by the big brands to tap this new found market. There is a new culture of intoxication, which is also being referred to as calculated hedonism, which is being fostered by the drunks industry (Haydock, 2015). The specific focus is on the “18 year old lads” and ways to promote the brands include free breakfast can of beer. It is implied that drinking is fun and drunkness is treated very lightly (Boseley, 2010).
There are a number of advantages of promoting and adopting night time economy. In UK alone, this economy is worth £66 billion and gives employment to over 1.3 million people from different fields, including leisure and retail, hospitality and entertainment, gyms, beauty salon, fast food establishments, pubs, restaurants, late night shops and music venues. As a result of the growth of this segment, night tubes were introduced and the use of this night tube increased in comparison to 2000 by 170% (Scrimgeour, 2016). A key advantage of this also lies in the fact that 56% of the workforce in this field is female and the majority of workforce belongs to NVQ level 2 qualifications, which is an opportunity for individuals of such class, and it ultimately helps with the issue of unemployment (Warwick Institute for Employment Research, 2017). Another key benefit of night time economy is that it promotes tourism. At the very start of this discussion, the example of New York City was given, which was the only city, tapping on this economy for a long time. But now, night time economy is used to promote the tourism for that particular city and is used as a means of attracting tourists (GLA Economics, 2012).
The night time economy is coupled with a number of limitations. Particularly the alcohol consumption which forms a key part of the night time economy has its costs. The key limitations of it include crime and its fear, the noise and light pollution, street cleaning particularly near the licensed premises and late night fast food takeaways, ambulance and hospitals, and the sale of alcohol to underage individuals (Wickham, 2012). The night time economy is majorly focused on drinking, which is already coupled with a number of ill points. It not only affects the health of the consumer, but where the consumer indulges in derogatory and abusive behaviour, it creates an environment of fear for the individuals and also injures the individuals in certain cases. The incidents of crime are also raised due to the night time economy presenting an opportunity for such activities. Being in inebriated condition makes the individuals an easy target for incidents like theft and robbery, and in some instances, prone to kidnapping or the heinous crimes like rape and murder. There is a lack of safety for the individuals especially when they are drunk, as they are not capable of making sane decisions at such instances and can be easily taken advantage of by the miscreants (Hutton, 2016).
Night time economy also presents an opportunity to make both noise and light pollution. In order to attract the client towards their establishment, fancy and big lights are used as can be easily seen in Las Vegas, which is a major light pollution. Also, beam lights are used for this purpose, which are not only a source of pollution, but also the waste of sources of energy which are used to create electricity. A bigger problem than light pollution is the noise pollution which blasts from the pubs and disturbs the ones who are in vicinity of such areas. This becomes particularly problematic when the club is situated near a residential or office building which operates 24*7. Again, this becomes a problem for the residents of such locations as along with the people of pubs, they become prone to incidents of thefts and robbery (Roberts and Eldridge, 2012). A key problem which is associated with the promotion of night time economy is that it fails to pay heed to the needs of older generation, who like to enjoy a shot of drink over light music or in silence with friends and family being near them. Thus, the focus is only placed on the needs of the young people, and the old people find no place to have a good drink. With the focus on this, the old couples and residents have no place in town to visit during night or evening time.
Being drunk also causes the problem of unsafe sex, which results in untimed and unwanted pregnancies, along with the individuals getting sexually transmitted diseases. Such night time pubs are deemed as a place to check out people and results in over sexuality and egoism, which further translates into incidents like sexual abuse and assault. There is also use of dope drugs and rape drugs, which leave the individuals defenceless against such perpetrators. Being indulged in casual sex partners or multiple sex partners is not only a threat for women but also is a topic of concern in men. It has been noted that women who drink are more likely to indulge in activities like frequent anal intercourse, which is not safe for them, and are less likely to use condoms, resulting in unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted disease (Fileborn, 2016). Thus, there is a promotion of casual sex through engraining in night time economy. The issue becomes particularly grave when masked identities are used, even when the purpose of the night time economy is to be free. These masked identities can be easily used as front by the criminal mega-minds to indulge in heinous activities (Smith, 2014).
This begs the need of policies to be formed by the local councils or state governments in order to safeguard people from the ill effects of night time economy. A need is raised to reduce the alcohol related harm and the other anti-social behaviour through policy work. This becomes problematic as a unified policy cannot be adopted for every menace as one size does not fit all in these cases (Wickham, 2012). Based on the cause of the problem, the policy has to be drafted, which results in increased costs for the policy makers. However, it cannot be denied that the benefits of night life economy fail to outweigh the benefits of it. This is particularly because the majority of limitations highlighted in the previous segments are the limitations common to day time economy also. There are incidents of casual sex and alcohol consumption in day time clubbing too. And incidents of heinous crimes like rape and kidnapping are never restricted to night life alone and associating these with a particular time of day is unfair. The policy makers are already made to work on these issues and blaming the costs of night time economy for the need of policies is not justified. Instead, there is a need to look at the benefits being derived from the night time economy, which is providing an opportunity to people to earn livelihood, which in turn is proving beneficial for the governments.
Thus, it can be concluded that when it comes to night time economy, the benefits of it are leaps and bounds ahead of its limitations. The night time economy provides opportunity for increased revenues for the government, and employment opportunity for different individuals. The limitations of night time economy are concentrated to crime and alcohol consumption, which are also present in day time economy and thus cannot be merely blamed on the night time economy. A change of trend, which is not adopted by certain strata of people, like the old age people, cannot be made as a justified limitation of night time economy. There are still places where such people can go and have a nice time. Also, the transformation of derelict buildings into pubs is also not a cause of concern, as the buildings are finally being utilized to push the economy. For these very reasons, night time economy is gaining popularity across the globe and the authorities are taking steps in promoting the same.
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