Sydney to become 24-hour city

The NSW government is revamping Sydney’s nightlife to create a 24-hour city.

The 24-Hour Economy Strategy, released yesterday, focuses on actions that will extend Sydney’s daytime economy into the night, including the role councils can play.

“At its core, our objective is to create a 24-hour city that is world renowned for its vibrancy, diversity, safety and access to amenity right throughout the day and night,” according to the strategy.

“The strategy focuses on actions that will extend the productivity of Sydney’s daytime economy into the night — to give businesses and consumers, councils and community groups an opportunity to keep the lights on beyond the traditional business day.”

Dominic Perrottet

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the strategy aimed to drive investment, create jobs and attract more businesses to the central business district and surrounding suburbs.

“There is no denying Sydney is one of the best cities in the world, but we need to continue to do everything we can to ensure the jewel in our crown continues to shine both day and night,” he said in a statement.

According to the strategy, a 24-hour city will be divided into:

  • Day-time: 6.00am to 6.00pm
  • Evening: 6.00pm to 9.00pm
  • Night-time: 9.00pm to 2.00am
  • Late night: 2.00am to 6.00am.

Core and non-core businesses

“The night-time economy consists of all the activities that take place as the traditional business day ends,” it said.

“[It] is made up of a broad range of industries. These include ‘core businesses’ such as restaurants, cafes, pubs, bars, theatres, festivals, markets and live music and ‘non-core’ or supporting businesses, including transport, retail, service industries, educational establishments and gyms.”

The strategy’s 39 action points fall into the following categories:

  • integrated planning and place-making
  • diversification of night-time activities
  • industry and cultural development
  • mobility and improved connectivity
  • changing the narrative.

It calls for a coordinator general to be appointed to ensure the actions in the strategy are implemented and monitored. A secretariat will also be made available to support them.

The strategy proposes that a ‘Neon Grid’ be established across greater Sydney. This will be a framework to enable the government, business and community stakeholders to map and plan the growth of Sydney’s 24-hour economy in a holistic way.

Support for councils

Councils are encouraged to participate in the 24-hour Economy Acceleration Program.

“To enable their participation in the 24-hour Economy Acceleration Program, councils should undertake activity mix studies into their existing, planned or potential 24-hour economy hubs,” the strategy said.

“There is no denying Sydney is one of the best cities in the world, but we need to continue to do everything we can to ensure the jewel in our crown continues to shine both day and night.” – Dominic Perrottet

“These studies will support the identification of what the councils already have on offer, and allow consideration of a mix of retail, food, drink, entertainment and general service offerings.”

Based on the activity mix reviews, measures can be taken to diversify the 24-hour experiences in the public spaces of galleries, dance studios and art and wine classes.

The government can support these measures by providing councils with policy guidance and standard provisions that can be adopted into their planning documents, and promoting new experiential product offerings.

Reliable and safe public transport

Public transport that is efficient, reliable and safe is an important part of a thriving 24-hour economy, according to the strategy.

“There is an opportunity to make travel a much more integrated part of the 24-hour experience, which enhances, rather than detracts from a night out,” it said.

“The provision of frequent, reliable and safe transport after hours is critical to developing a vibrant night-time economy. It encourages people to not only make essential trips, but to go out of their way to explore Greater Sydney and experience what the city has to offer.”

Transport for NSW is currently trialling technology to improve safety for women travelling on public transport at night in Greater Sydney

Gabriel Metcalf

The strategy is “one of the most detailed and comprehensive nightlife plans ever compiled for a city,” said Gabriel Metcalf, CEO of Committee for Sydney, an urban policy think tank.

“Sydney is one of the most liveable cities in the world. It is now time for us to become a 24-hour city. Whilst our night-time offer is great in many places, we should aspire to much more,” he said in a statement.

“This is a way to showcase the best of Sydney: a young, fun, diverse, creative city that offers the best in culture, dining, retail and entertainment after dark.”

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