Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Monday, December 03, 2018

The Vision Thing and DC's Night Mayor appointment

Adams MorganA few weeks ago it was announced that DC was seeking to hire a "Night Mayor."  There was a bunch of breathless media coverage ("Want to deal with D.C.’s after-hours noise? The District is looking for its first ‘night mayor.’," Washington Post).

I considered applying myself, until I remembered that it would be working in the Office of the Mayor, and that it would be unlikely I'd get an interview let alone the job. From the article:
The new director of the District’s inaugural Office of Nightlife and Culture will be in charge of “the after-hours economy” and all that goes along with it — after-hours noise complaints, crime, street cleanup, traffic congestion and, of course, rats.

“This job, man. People are excited about it. Around the country, across the oceans,” said Lindsey Parker, Bowser’s deputy chief of staff. “We’ve received a very diverse group of résumés.”

The concept of having an after-dark government official whose job it is to create order from the chaos of nightlife is not a new one.

Other cities — New York, London, Orlando, even smaller ones like Iowa City — have created such positions. They vary in title (night mayor, night czar, night manager) and responsibilities. Some, like London’s night czar, work only part time.

In the District, it will be a full-time job — with odd hours.
I've been writing about these issues for a long time and have a bunch of insightful points, ranging from

1.  "daypart planning" to include evening and night hours in a planning framework based approach ("Planning programming by daypart, month, season: and Boston Winter Garden, DC's Holiday Market, etc." and "Daypart and age-group planning in mixed use (commercial) districts")

2.  Lighting ("Night-time safety: rethinking lighting in the context of a walking community") and

3.  Restructuring the alcoholic beverage licensing process to take into account land use context--in this case the type and nature of the setting, so that a licensee in a regionally serving nightlife district is treated differently from a location in a neighborhood-embedded commercial district, and rather than force all licenses to be "challenged" build in a certain way of operating from the outset, depending on the nature of the commercial district/setting.

Dayparts as a planning concept for commercial districts
Dayparts as a planning concept for commercial districts.


It's been reported that DC made its hire, Shawn Townsend, formerly of the DC Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration ("D.C. Names Shawn Townsend 'Night Mayor'," Washington City Paper).

2011 11 04 - 5534 - Washington DC - Occupy DCThey hired a regulator.  Not a planner.

I shouldn't be surprised.

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