Dr Drane was invited to chair the ANZ Night Time Economy Forum to be held in Sydney from June 12th to 14th, 2019. The forum brings together government, industry and legislators across several Australian cities from Perth to Canberra, Tasmania and Sydney then to regional settings like Townsville and Newcastle and more.

The forum sought to define how a city can create a night time economy that goes beyond traditional examples of pubs, night clubs, restaurants, theatres and cinema. The landscape of night time is being divided into evening economy versus night economy separating the concept of dinner related early evening activities to late night entertainment and clubs which in themselves have attracted controversy and restrictions due to alcohol/drug related violence and associated restrictions and curfews that remain the subject of intense debate.

At the community end of the night time economy lies the safety benefits of people in the city at night from people returning home from work, to those heading out for a night shift. Homeless people benefit from government and benevolent services that extend into the evening from shelters and related services to libraries and government support agencies.

At the city planning end of the equation, how do we plan for these changes and indeed is planning the correct method for activation of such precincts and outcomes. Do we use stimulant zones such as Mixed Zoning or do we instead as City Builders take a more proactive role and design and develop precincts with development bodies. Do we take the examples of Barangaroo, Darling Harbour and Honeysuckle in Newcastle to create catalyst related precincts.

Another consideration is the restraint that our city and town formations bring to us in historical terms. The typical regional town formation for example was designed with small resident populations in the town centre while the population worked and lived in the rural catchment surrounding the town centre. Even Sydney, one of Australia’s most vibrant cities retains a small resident population in its original peninsular town formation and is no New York or London in this regard. The question arises how do we adapt low resident town formations to a vibrant night economy?

At the infrastructure end of things, how do we a support a mobile vibrant night population with a safe transport option that does not rely on cars and car parking?

These questions and concepts are the subject of review by experienced speakers who share experience, examples and case studies to help us through the conundrum.

Despite our existing vibrant night life precincts in our major city centres, our cities in general have a long way to go in the conception and realisation of these exciting new offerings. Come along to the ANZ night time economy forum on 12to 14th June in Sydney and find out.

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Dr Jonathan Drane is an independent researcher and advisor to government, corporate, legal and academic sectors. He applies research methods to solve complex problems through project analysis in the commercial construction and development sector. Jonathan is a recognised expert in city precinct development with an emphasis on activation of dormant cityscapes. Jonathan’s doctoral research project (2011 to 2014) studied dormant cityscapes in several Australian regional cities and how they were bought to life. Going beyond just a research emphasis he was involved in the revitalisation of the Palmer Street Precinct, Townsville (2003 to 2008) as a catalyst developer. In this way he has both researched and been involved as a practitioner in this specific field of urban activation. His advisory profile ranges from planning urban development of dormant cityscapes, to forensic analysis of complex construction and property development problems in legal and industry situations. Jonathan is also a recognised award winning author in the non-fiction and historical genre winning an award for his first book on the Camino de Santiago (The Way of a Thousand Arrows) in 2007 with the NSW Writers Centre.

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