INTERESTING BITS: Does Your City Need a Night Mayor? Cities Large and Small are Creating Positions

Iowa City has one. So does Pittsburgh. Orlando and Fort Lauderdale are recruiting and NYC and Edinburgh city councils are voting on legislation to create a “nighttime commission” and “night mayor-night manager” staff position.

Come be part of this global movement. The night mayor trend is gaining traction following more than a decade of work in cities throughout the world to establish staff and commissions overseeing the coordination of resources to facilitate public safety, sound management, crowd management, streamlined permitting and licensing, and organized associations working to define best practices on service, safety and security.

But just like a conductor requires an orchestra to create music, a night mayor requires a dedicated team, tools, policy, resources and staffing in many departments to work in harmony to create the foundation for a sociable city for people to share music, food, drink and dance.

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New York, Edinburgh Mull Appointing Night Mayors

“We’ve got to the point where the only venues who are able to survive in this city are the high-end nightclubs” – Following the lead of London, Paris, Zurich and several cities in the Netherlands, both New York and Scottish capital Edinburgh are considering appointing ‘night mayors’ to oversee the cities’ night-time economies.

Rafael Espinal, the member of New York city council for the 37th district, is reportedly drafting legislation that would create an office of nightlife overseen by the city’s first night mayor.

“What I imagine the office doing is finding ways we can be helpful in creating a business-friendly environment that supports nightlife,” Espinal tells Gothamist. “I want to make sure that we’re not a city where artists’ ability to express themselves is hindered by bureaucracy.”

The proposed role would include responsibility for protecting the city’s small and DIY venues, many of which are under pressure from local authorities and property developers.

“I feel like these venues are facing a whole array of issues: getting up to code and also dealing with pressures of the real-estate market here in New York,” Espinal adds. “We’ve got to the point where the only venues who are able to survive in this city are the high-end nightclubs in the Meatpacking district, or places with similar business models.

“My main motivation to push for this office is to make sure that the DIY venues and the smaller venues that actually provide a hub for artists and musicians to come together and express their art are able to survive.”

Meanwhile, Edinburgh city council is expected to move ahead with plans to appoint its own night mayor following more than two years of talks with representatives of the local music business.

The move has been welcomed by Music Venue Trust, which wants to see the appointment of Amy Lamé as London’s ‘night czar’ replicated in other British cities.

The Scotsman reports the Edinburgh night mayor’s role would be as a “go-between for the [music] sector and different city council departments”, leading efforts to secure the future of existing venues and advise on the development of new ones.

According to The Economist, the introduction of Amsterdam’s night mayor (nachtburgemeester) in 2014 has been “transformative” for the Dutch capital, with Mirik Milan’s achievements including delivering a licensing regime that allows some venues to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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