Book review: Planning the Night-time City

Planning the Night-time City covers a very interesting topic but this book could have been considerably more insightful if written from a practitioners point of view instead of an academics.

The book covers the role that the planning system and planning considerations have in respect of the night time economy.

The book is predominantly theoretical; this is loosely supported by case studies, particularly focused on town centre activities, and cities which have a strong night time economy, including "party cities", such as Soho in London and Edinburgh. 
The book covers town centre uses comprehensively, particularly in terms of the opportunities they create in contributing towards night time economies.

In addition to night time economy, the authors cover elements that make a night out in the City, such as alcohol consumption as well as other late night pleasures and behaviour.

The book provides some consideration of the negative elements of night time activities in the City, such as binge drinking, although the focus on this at times creates quite a downbeat slant to the book, in my opinion.

Although I am aware that these types of negative features of town centre night time activities require attention and appropriate control through the planning system and use of regulation by local authorities, this particular book just seems to highlight the more restrictive areas of planning, such as regulation of areas and activities restricted to particular places.

In addition to the fact that the book contains no less than TWO chapters on licensing, a potentially fascinating book does become slightly dull. The lack of images in the book unfortunately does not help this. 

Thankfully, the book also looks at extremely interesting areas of the night time city in a planning context, such as the presence and role of cultural quarters, and the place for consumers in the night time city.

From the perspective of a planning practitioner, this was certainly the most interesting aspect of the book and tying these areas to the case studies helped to retain my interest, once I had recovered from the mind numbing effect that the licensing chapters had on me.

Overall, Planning the Night-Time City is an interesting book, and is certainly a worthwhile read for those with an interest in planning in town centres, as it does cover an aspect of planning that we know we have to consider but sometimes becomes obscured by the nature of the planning system, given the complexity of planning and licensing regulations and restrictions in place.

I would recommend this book particularly to students that are seeking to learn more about the more transitional areas of planning, and want something completely different to Cullingworth and Nadin.

Any practitioners seeking to read this I am sure would find it intriguing, despite the lack of images...!
This book would prove an interesting resource for public and private practitioners, students, and academics with a particular interest in retail and town centres.

Claudia Clemente is an assistant planner at Drivers Jonas Deloitte

Buy Planning the Night-Time City here.

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