18:50 - 19:25
Nighttime in cities - Exploiting the full potential in urban areas

Short thesis

The nighttime has received increasing attention from the local governments, research and the private sector in the last decade. New business models, partnerships and management approaches have emerged to exploit the full potential of the nighttime. However, also the nighttime has to handle the impacts of COVID-19. Together with VibeLab the Fraunhofer IAO develops recovery plans and roadmaps to help mitigate the impacts of the recent lock-down and social distancing.


“The city that never sleeps“ is a famous description for the American metropolis New York – anyone know it for a very distinct and varied nighttlife. But while the nighttime economy is commonly perceived as a synonym to an entertainment and culture industry, studies show that it is represented by a wide range of sectors including health care, transportation services, telecommunication, food production and services, delivery, and many more. An increasing number of cities are appointing “night mayors“ as a mediator between an urban day and night economy. So, what about German cities? The first German night mayor was democratically elected in 2018 in Mannheim, Baden-Württemberg. But does every German city have economic potential to implement a nighttime economy?

Fraunhofer IAO has gained extensive experience by collaborating with cities around the world on several topics concerning the latest urban development needs, trends and technologies. Since the nighttime economy is gaining importance in the post-COVID-19 era, the Fraunhofer research teams have been stepping up to support smaller and medium-sized cities with developing individually-tailored nighttime strategies, policies, recovery plans and roadmaps to support nighttime economy in cities. One of the next steps is designing a tool to quantify the multilevel impacts of the local nighttime economy, while supporting the decision-making process.

Together with Vibelab Fraunhofer IAO has been successfully cooperating on the Nighttime Economy topic following the digital conference “Nighttime in Cities” in June 2020. Once a month VibeLab releases chapters of the Global Nighttime Recovery Plan focusing on different topics. The latest chapter was just published on September 2, and explores the challenges and opportunities to the reopening of dance floors.

Inna Zhuravlova (Fraunhofer IAO) will talk with the project partner Vibelab about this tool and about the Global Nighttime Recovery Plan.

Moderator Anna Lena Schiller