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Midnight Tour - Helsingborg

  • Fr. 03.06.2022
  • 22:00 — 00:30
  • 2 h 30 mins
  • included in conference ticket
  • in front of City Hall
  • +43 680 1254 354, Eugene Quinn
  • ionicons-v5-o eugene@whoosh.wien
  • english

Helsingborg Nightlife

Vast sections of cities are ill-used by night. Here lies great opportunity, culturally & economically. Let's celebrate the Helsingborg night, & its dark side (though in Sweden it barely gets dark in June!). We need cities to work as 24hr places to live. Why do nearly all tours happen during the day? We'll get an insight into the future of night-time in the city.

Join us for an urban adventure where few groups go. Almost everybody is free at midnight, and yet so few events start much later in the day. We want to explore the difference between day and night in the big city.

Night time is very special - for lovers, party-people, dancers and artists. Our day may start when others end. One group goes partying when another community goes to bed. Many work through the night to support the infrastructure that the rest of us rely on in the day. Others bake bread or serve food, or have their social media to attend to, all night & all day. The developing cycles & rhythms of day/night make for an ever more complex composition. And nighttime culture is under threat like never before.

Why is it that we only choose to walk around other people’s cities in groups, and not our own? It is very satisfying to join a debate in public space, with an engaged group of citizens - students, academics, journalists, architects - who want to know more, to share stories and exchange ideas and perspectives.

Urban walking is a celebration of public space. And Helsingborg has world-class public space, though it is sometimes lacking in enough people to really bring it to life.

The night is younger and more diverse than the day. More fun and spontaneous.

It is when lovers get to know each other, when creatives often start to write and develop new ideas. And it is the moment when the city relaxes and gets social.

Helsingborg’s city-planning is people-centred, and we want to explore this concept on our walk into the darkness. Whoosh uses non-academic language - and humour - to debate serious ideas. We search for new ways of looking at the city, which are just as interesting to long-term residents as visitors (smart city, overtourism, Brexit, smells, human rights, Russian influence, disruptors, and now the night).

Among the questions we will ask:

-which streets are busier than in the daytime, and which quieter?

-why do some people prefer night to day - we will ask them why they are awake so late, on skateparks, at railway stations, on the waterfront and also uptown.

-which shops are open at this time?

Mayors do not like it when people compare their city's nightlife with a cemetery. For international students, a colourful nightscene is a key reason to choose one university instead of another.

We will also look at the different lifestyles of people in old and new parts of the city. Instead of the sweet version of the city, Eugene is more interested in the salty elements of our reality in 2022: the dialect, late-night kiosks, street art scene, social housing and earthy bars.

For those who do not see the needs of people who want to go out at night as equal to those who want to sleep, think about where you met your last partner, some of the emotional highs of the last year, or your youthful summers, and ask yourself how many of those things happened in the night?

This tour is also a reminder that we should not always think of green spaces when choosing the location for our next walk. It is a cliché to head for nature and relaxation when meeting friends for a walk. Why not instead think of a tour of people, life, urban innovation, and places where we discover community, architecture and new ideas? And in organising a late-night meeting, we want to push the boundaries of what a city tour means, and how it can be recreated.

We’ll be looking at the night-time economy and the sense of place in central Helsingborg. Not enough residents realise the value of the night economy – it is worth a lot of money. We want to observe how many people are awake, and what they are doing. Not enough cities have a vision for developing & managing their nighttime economy.

Many cities are more friendly at midnight than midday, and people have more time to chat. And you hear more foreign languages spoken in the small hours.

Our previous nightwalks (in Vienna) were a success – we heard the Eritrean national anthem from five men outside Westbahnhof, chatted with a Würstelstandlerin, with street-cleaners (who told us the difference between daytime and nighttime trash), a homeless person, plenty of party people and an Iranian skateboarder. Everybody wanted to talk to us, spontaneously, which was refreshing and unusual.

The rules that determine city-planning often ignore the length of our day. The practice of planning urban areas is tailored almost exclusively to daytime functions. When the needs of the nighttime are overlooked, it creates significant tension in our town centres.

This is one of the reasons cultural and entertainment venues are struggling in cities around the world. In London, 1-in-3 music venues has closed in the last 10 years, and around half of nightclubs. The same in Amsterdam, because of rising property prices, changing lifestyles in young people, gentrification, and rising intolerance of noise. These trends are echoed everywhere. If these challenges are not addressed in planning, we see that the opposing needs of urban residents at night - those who want to sleep & those who want to go out - are not considered at the same time, making it difficult to cater for both. Growing pressure on living space means residential areas are edging nearer to crowded urban areas, putting residents closer to entertainment uses. We need mixed-use planning, strict guidelines and modern development practices, thus energising our towns & cities. Instead, in practice, it leads to noise complaints and legal conflicts.

Planning for nighttime is frighteningly absent. While many cities need homes for more people, the cultural reasons many of us choose life in cities are under threat. And when we talk about the night here, it starts not at midnight, but 7pm. If buildings are not fit for purpose, or allowed to be constructed without considering their local environment, those that inhabit them are affected.

We need a global, 24hour planning system to ensure we are building better cities for us all, whatever activities we choose to do after 7pm. Many city leaders are developing tools that work through planning. In San Francisco, the city entertainment licensing agency are automatically consulted on planning applications within 100m of an entertainment premises. This includes new housing, office blocks and hotels. In London, music venues are being planned within mixed use developments from the very beginning of the process. In New York, the Mayor has created a Nighttime Ambassador (following the lead set by Amsterdam) to tackle a host of issues including burdensome regulations for licensed operators.

Eugene loves the city at night (he is dj and insomniac), and wants to show you why. This will be a party walk. The night is full of possibilities, the atmosphere more bohemian. We at Whoosh love hot summer nights. Let’s go for a proper, deep adventure into the dark side.

Nightwatchman: Eugene Quinn