Cities at Night

Urban life doesn't stop when the sun goes down

Life in cities continues even after dark. The night time economy is a central part of urban life and livelihoods and one that is often forgotten by policymakers and scholars alike. Yet this world matters, and not just a little: New York’s nightlife accounts for US$29 billion of economic activity annually and 250,000 jobs. More than one-fifth of Tokyo’s workforce is doing night shifts. One-third of everyone employed in London, 1.6 million people, work at night. One-third of transactions in Hong Kong happen after hours. Those who work night shifts face more hazardous and stressful labour conditions than their daytime counterparts.

Managing Cities After Dark aims to bring the night time economy 'out of the shadows', understanding how the night time is governed in and by cities around the world and how it could be done more inclusively - thinking not only of party goers but also of night shift workers. The project builds both on research into night time governance by the Lab as well as the Lab's Studio N graduate program for the Melbourne School of Design, working in collaboration with night time colleagues at Arup and the City of Melbourne and overseas in the UK and US.

Project team


Studio N: Managing cities at night - run through Melbourne School of Design

Murray, K. Rogers, D. & Acuto, M. (2020). Night-time and citiesCity Road podcast.

What's happening in our cities at night? Michele Acuto on Life Matters, ABC Radio National, 9 March 2020.

Acuto, M. (2020). A not so silent night. Pursuit, 2 February 2020.

Acuto, M. (2019). We need a science of the nightNature, 576(7787), 339.


Arup Melbourne