Olivia Harris/Reuters

Amsterdam’s Mirik Milan was the original “night mayor.” He talks to CityLab about how other cities can treat the night more like the day, and the principles of a sustainable party.

When reports of Amsterdam’s Night Mayor started filtering into the international media, few could have imagined the concept would take off around the world with such speed. While the Dutch capital was not the first city to have an independent body or NGO working with the actual mayor to make sure its night hours run smoothly, Amsterdam has nonetheless been at the forefront of spreading the concept. Now a host of other cities, including London and New York, have adopted something similar and Amsterdam’s example is being widely celebrated as a healthy template for cultivating a harmonious nighttime atmosphere for citizens—whether asleep or awake.

For many cities, the idea of creating a special city office or partner NGO to cover areas that already fall under other existing officials’ jurisdiction still requires a leap of faith. Amsterdam Night Mayor Mirik Milan made his case for more night managers in a conversation at Citylab 2017 in Paris.

“The night is often treated differently than the day,” Milan told CityLab in an interview. “When there's a problem the first reaction of city officials is to say, ‘hey we have to stop this now,’ instead of bringing people together and saying we have to come up with a solution that actually works or at least makes the city a little bit better.”

Milan applies environmental principles to developing sustainable party life. “If you cut down some trees you have to replant them somewhere else,” he said. “Nightlife is really dynamic. So it doesn't matter if a night club closes after five or six years, but you need to make sure that you can open up a venue somewhere else.”

We also discussed how everyday issue such as gentrification and displacement have ramifications for night-time activity and what a night mayor’s work can deliver even to people who dread the idea of stepping inside a nightclub.

Watch the video below:

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a photo of the Eiffel Tower with the words "Made for Sharing" projected on it
    Life

    How France Tries to Keep English Out of Public Life

    France has a long history of using official institutions to protect the French language from outside influence. Still, English keeps working its way in.

  2. Maps

    The Map That Made Los Angeles Make Sense

    For generations in Southern California, the Thomas Guide led drivers through the streets of Los Angeles. Now apps do that. Did something get lost along the way?

  3. Warren Logan
    Transportation

    A City Planner Makes a Case for Rethinking Public Consultation

    Warren Logan, a Bay Area transportation planner, has new ideas about how to truly engage diverse communities in city planning. Hint: It starts with listening.

  4. an illustration depicting a map of the Rio Grande river
    Maps

    Between Texas and Mexico, a Restless Border Defies the Map

    In El Paso, we call it the Rio Grande; our neighbors in Juárez know it as Río Bravo. It’s supposed to be a national border, but the river had its own ideas.

  5. Life

    Staying Afloat on an Island of Wealth

    Each summer on Martha's Vineyard, year-round residents and seasonal workers struggle to find affordable housing amid the island’s luxury real estate.

×