I always thought that because Frank Sinatra sang, “I want to wake up in a city that doesn’t sleep”, it inferred that New York City was the #1 place for night owls. Well it seems that New York is well down the list in a study of the world’s 24-hour cities by Marion Roberts, a professor of urban design at London’s University of Westminster and author of Planning the Night-time City.
The BBC reports that Cairo was ranked the “most 24-hour” city of all. Next came Montevideo, Beirut, six Spanish cities (Malaga, Zaragoza, Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Seville) and Buenos Aires. London was ranked 17th, Paris 18th and New York 32nd.
Roberts identifies many of the benefits and challenges of managing the night economy of cities. She says, “In the UK, Europe and Australia, a lot of their ‘24-hourness’ has been about extending entertainment and this has disadvantages for city center dwellers unless carefully managed. However, it does generate more jobs, activities and social solidarities.” This is a subject that cities worldwide will increasingly have to address.
Cairo might be the #1 night-time city, and it’s a great place, but I can’t imagine Frank Sinatra belting out, “Cairo – the city that never sleeps!”