As part of our research project 'Sustainable Mobility, Affordable Cities,' funded under H2020-MSCA-IF-2015 of the European Union, we co-organised an international conference on the urban night.

International conference on the urban night:
Governance, Diversity, Mobility

7-8 June 2018, hosted by Sofia University, Sofia, Bulgaria

Cosmopolis Centre for Urban Research, VUB, Brussels;
Department of Economics of Transport and Energy, UNWE;
Research Centre for Social Studies, Sofia University

The night-time city has been the subject of both romanticising and commodification. Efforts to politicise, monetise, police and reclaim it have been intensifying in many cities worldwide. From quantifying the value of a night-time economy to campaigning for night-time public transport, various urban actors have sought to shape how the night is governed, and to what ends.

This conference sought to bring together geographically diverse contributions on the urban night, from academia and beyond. Our aim was to provide a space for critical debate across a range of perspectives on urban night governance; to identify opportunities for international collaboration; and to promote engaged academic research. In particular, the event sought to generate dialogue between diverse disciplines and/or research topics, identifying connections across aspects of the night-time, from transport to culture and from gender to tourism.

The topics covered included:

  • Governance and contestation of the urban night;

  • Night-time transport, including public transport at night; delivery services and logistics; ride-hailing;

  • Night-time work;

  • Safety and diversity n in the night-time city: income, age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, (dis)ability;

  • Tourism, leisure and culture;

  • Illumination, sound and design.

Keynote lectures were given by Prof Dr Get Duijzings (University of Regensburg) and Prof Marion Roberts (University of Westminster). Gergin Borisov, representative of Sofia-based urban civil society initiative Spasi Sofia, led an excursion to introduce participants to the urban and mobility challenges faced by Sofia. Over 50 researchers from more than 10 different countries attended the conference.