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. An illustration shows two alleys in Detroit.
    Design

    Finding the Untapped Potential of Alleys

    “We’re starting to realize they’re just as powerful as a park or plaza.”

  2. Environment

    Imagining the Most Catastrophic Climate Future Ever

    Using up all the planet’s fossil energy would cause a 160-plus-foot rise in sea levels, say scientists.

  3. Couples in formal 1950s dress dance as a band plays.
    Life

    Why Won’t Millennials Join Country Clubs?

    Golf-centric clubs are on the wane, even as private membership organizations for Millennials are re-emerging in urban areas.

  4. Design

    What's Inside a Neighborhood in a Box?

    On the outskirts of New York City, a new housing model aimed at Millennials asks: What is city living?

  5. A man shelters from the rain at a bus stop.
    Equity

    ‘Climate Gentrification’ Will Deepen Urban Inequality

    A new study investigates the intersection of climate change and real estate, and finds that higher elevations bring higher values.