23116_FOC _The City at Night_Report


The city core became smaller when the boring, labour-related activities relocated to the home after the pandemic. However, in the years that followed, these were replaced with high octane, digitally enabled interactions, experiences and events, and this is particularly true when the sun sets. People are brought together to experience that which cannot be experienced elsewhere; a buzz that can only be generated in a densely populated multi-use environment, now augmented with new digital realities and possibilities. 24-hour cities were created by the demand for experiences and convenience. People came back to the city, in search of connections, leisure, excitement and culture; all of which have been traditionally associated with the night. For those who now work from home more often, when they come into town, they want to pack their day with activities. For those working 2-days per week in the office, it has become quite common to bridge these days with an overnight stay so as to maximise their experience and further minimise their commute. Our economy and amenity quickly reoriented around these new patterns of activity with hotels now playing a more significant role in the real estate market.

After the initial splurge on old habits following the pandemic, demand for experiences manifested a change in public policy as stakeholders adapted to meet the wants of their customers. By 2030 each UK city had its own night-time czar, infrastructure investment was directed to ensuring that night-time economies catered to all and shed an association with anti social behaviour. An increasingly health-conscious younger demographic, as well as older inhabitants of cities, dictated that night-time-economies were no longer limited to drinking establishments, but expanded to include night-markets, 24 hour restaurants as well as nocturnal fitness and cultural activities with sporting events transmitted from these cities to the global community across various time zones. Our idea of convenience changed. People’s schedules have become a lot more flexible.Later opening hours, which were initially expanded to claw customers back to cities became the norm and eventually extended to an ‘around-the-clock’ service. Online retailers, having retained select flagship stores created 24-hour urban hubs that provide in-person experiences as well as services to customers. Automation means that staffing costs are kept to a minimum with stock control via distribution hubs.


1 Cushman & Wakefiled | Future of Cities |

Where are we starting to see this?

As investors realised that 24-hour cities drove increased utilisation and value, asset management strategies adapted. Firstly, allocation strategies skewed towards those cities that could genuinely offer a 24-hour platform. Secondly, single use buildings are now in the minority, with the vast majority truly mixed use, with some uses alternating between day and night. Whilst new developments had previously displaced night-time uses away from city centres, development and planning policy in the 2030s explicitly recognised the importance and value of the nighttime economy. As public policy shifted towards carbon-neutral transport infrastructure, public transport was designed with the 24-hour city in mind and made viable via automation. Effective 24-hour public transport also meant that the energy and footfall of the city is now exported to our suburban rail hubs, expanding suburban amenity beyond the traditional ‘9 to 5’. Takeaways » The UK has at least three truly 24-hour cities by 2040. » The night-time economy will cater to all, including older demographics. » Overnight stays become more popular among 2-day per week hybrid workers. » All buildings will be mixed use, with uses varying in some cases by day and night.

New York City

New York has long prided itself on being a truly 24-hour city. In a city of 8.4 million (with a further 12 million in the metropolitan area), New York’s subway system is the lifeblood of its 24-hour status. Operating around the clock, it navigates and connects New York’s densely packed urban areas creating a unique melting pot of cultures and communities. The diversity of New York means that boroughs contain completely different traits and cater to different audiences throughout day and night. Pockets of suburbia, such as the city’s Prospect Park, are juxtaposed with the towering skyscrapers of Manhattan. The reclamation of an elevated railway line to create a 1.45-mile urban garden in the form of The High Line and the regeneration and development of Hudson Yards shows the ability of the city to provide completely unique experiences as a draw to visitors. The 24-hour transit system means that the energy of downtown New York at night is transmitted throughout its suburbs, with bodegas and restaurants providing a truly 24-hour service. Whilst mass transit systems are currently questioned over how to adapt to potential new travel patterns, we predict that automation will increase viability in cities such as London which have struggled with implementing 24-hour services.


2 Cushman & Wakefiled | Future of Cities |

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