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Rhythms of the night: spatiotemporal inequalities in the nighttime economy


  • Tim Schwanen
  • Irina van Aalst
  • Jelle Brands
  • Tjerk Timan


The authors seek to extend the literature on inequalities and exclusion in the nighttime economy through a rhythmic analysis of visitor presence in public space in nightlife districts in the city centres of the Dutch cities of Groningen, Utrecht, and Rotterdam. Substantial inequalities in visitor presence, based on race/ethnicity and gender, are demonstrated. In the cities considered, racial/ethnic inequalities vary more in spatial terms, and gender inequalities fluctuate more heavily over the course of the night. Overall, however, the findings support the argument that exclusion from the nighttime economy needs to be understood in temporal–ecological terms. Multiple drivers, or pacemakers, of rhythmic inequalities rooted in race/ethnicity and gender are identified, including opening hours and revellers’ collective habits. For advocates of greater diversity among nighttime-economy participants, the analysis suggests that neither a more varied supply of nightlife premises, nor more surveillance and policing, are straightforward solutions: a strong orientation of premises toward university students and urban professionals may promote gender-based inclusion, but deters nonwhite revellers, and more police on the street may empower women to move through a nightlife district unaccompanied yet reduce the inclination to do so among racial/ethnic minorities Keywords: nighttime economy, exclusion, rhythm, gender, ethnicity, Netherlands

Suggested Citation

  • Tim Schwanen & Irina van Aalst & Jelle Brands & Tjerk Timan, 2012. "Rhythms of the night: spatiotemporal inequalities in the nighttime economy," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 44(9), pages 2064-2085, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:44:y:2012:i:9:p:2064-2085

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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas Friis Søgaard, 2014. "Bouncers, Policing and the (In)visibility of Ethnicity in Nightlife Security Governance," Social Inclusion, Cogitatio Press, vol. 2(3), pages 040-051.
    2. Van Liempt & Van Aalst, 2015. "Whose Responsibility? The Role of Bouncers in Policing the Public Spaces of Nightlife Districts," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(6), pages 1251-1262, November.
    3. repec:eee:socmed:v:184:y:2017:i:c:p:124-133 is not listed on IDEAS

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