Night-time and Cities

The world of night-time waste collectors, night shift nurses, office cleaners, rough sleepers and security guards rarely makes international headlines.


Understanding what happens in cities after dark is crucial to global sustainable development, but will also help create a fairer society that values the night-time economy.

Yet the night-time is critical to building a fairer and more sustainable future for our cities. To do so, we urgently need to think more strategically about what happens after hours in Australian cities. The night-time is a critical space for addressing some of today’s most pressing sustainability challenges. For example, internationally, energy use peaks during evening hours.

Then there is the an estimated 154 million people – about two per cent of the world’s population – who are homeless and face precarious situations at night when seeking food, shelter and transport in socially and environmentally hostile climates.

In Australia it is has been estimated that around nine per cent of employees works in the night-time economy. Many are on low pay and work in unhealthy conditions, juggling multiple jobs. They also face longer and more difficult journeys to work, or to access services, than their daytime colleagues.

More than two per cent of Australian households live in ‘food deserts’ concentrated in low-income and outer suburbs, like Western Sydney and Wyndham in Greater Melbourne, where access to affordable, healthy food options is limited or non-existent. At night, these conditions worsen as basic services like transport, retail and healthcare stop or shut and affordability plummets.

This is an excerpt from a piece called: A not so silent night 

Guest Producer

Kate Murray is a communications professional and knowledge broker focused on research translation. She has a Bachelor of Communication from Griffith University and a long multimedia career of content creation, ghostwriting and journalism. She is a natural organiser and community leader with a passion for collaboration challenges such as those found in interdisciplinary, international, or inter-organisational projects.

Kate joined Connected Cities Lab as Coordinator in 2018, building on a career within the University of Melbourne that includes a role as Communication Officer with the Networked Society Institute. Kate works closely with the Lab Director to develop and coordinate research projects, activities and engagement that align with the Lab strategic objectives. She is also responsible for overseeing the daily administrative functions of the Lab and providing support and advice to a range of research projects and the wider Lab research community.


Michele Acuto is director of the Connected Cities Lab, Professor in Urban Politics and Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning. He is an expert in international urban development.

Michele is also a non-resident Senior Fellow of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and member of Fondation Botnar’s expert commission. Before joining the Faculty, Michele was Director of the City Leadership Lab and Professor of Diplomacy and Urban Theory at University College London, having previously worked as Stephen Barter Fellow of the Oxford Programme for the Future of Cities at the University of Oxford. He also taught at the University of Canberra, University of Southern California, Australian National University and National University of Singapore. Outside academia, Michele worked for the Institute of European Affairs in Dublin, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), the Kimberley Process for conflict diamonds, the European Commission’s response to pandemic threats. He also has worked for several years on city leadership and city networks with, amongst others, Arup, World Health Organization, World Bank Group, the C40 Climate Leadership Group, and UN-Habitat. In 2018-19 he co-chaired the Nature Sustainability International Expert Panel on “science and the future of cities”.

Michele is the author of several articles, publications and policy documents on urban governance, international politics and urban development challenges.

More information

Night Mayor of Amsterdam –

Andreina Saijas and Mirik Milan –

Andreina Saijas website –

24/7 book by Jonathan Crary –

Urban wildlife article by Theresa Jones –

Theresa Jones profile –

Tim Edensor profile –

24 hour transport in London by McArthur, Smeds, and Robin –

One thought on “Night-time and Cities

Add yours

  1. Hello Dallas, this is a very welcoming piece of work by yourselves and your guest introducing the issues that nighttime governors (be they Czar, Advisor or Mayor), need to take into account vulnerabilities and inequalities faced by invisible nightworkers. Your listeners may be interested in the nightworkpods and nightworkdocs based on research on nightworkers in London, at the Resercher’s Nightworkshop (see link below). Also, happy to discuss Dallas any collaboration if there is an interest to develop further this topic (very much invisible from public debates and political agendas).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Website Built with

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: