Vilnius to become a round-the-clock European city
There are plans to end up with the decades-old practice of closing all the establishments and service providers at 6 p.m. and all the night events before midnight and to promote instead the 24 hour-city. The nightlife would definitely give a new momentum to the growth of the city while contributing to its overall economy.
The night-time economy would involve active urban communities and businesses; it would make the city more attractive, address current inconveniences for the population, which often give the cause for discontent. The idea entails a variety of business organisations staying open all night long, late night events, nightlife concerts, shows, restaurants and cafes, sports events and many more.
‘What we wish is to enable the people in Vilnius to choose the time to be active in the city. If you want to go to a movie at night, we just have to give it a chance. I know a number of businesses, which would prefer to start their day at lunchtime and close late at night. We have good examples in other European cities and we are ready to follow suit so that the life in our city would become more attractive and convenient for all’, said Mayor of Vilnius Remigijus Šimašius.
Night economy for all
The Mayor believes that 24-hour open services may eventually become a necessity for the townspeople. This is also evidenced by public opinion polls in other countries, where the extended working hours of service companies (e.g. libraries, hairdressers, clothing cleaning companies, etc.) have attracted more people of diverse generations and interests.
One example is Berlin (Germany), where the night economy has become a driver for creative industry, a digital economy and tourism. It is assumed that 35 % of tourists choose this city for its nightlife and entertainment. Another example is Manchester (Great Britain), which is believed to have attracted extra 150,000 people at weekends for this reason. The night economy in the United Kingdom generates an average of 66 billion pounds a year. The night economy in New York brings about $ 10 billion to its budget on an annual basis.
First time ever idea for 24-hour Vilnius
Vilnius was designed as a city of ‘day economy’. The new idea belongs to Mark Adam Harold, Member of Vilnius City Council, who said that a well-planned night economy might serve as an engine for culture and business and create equal conditions for all.
‘The fact that the night-life was not planned, monitored and analysed has led to a responsive type of behaviour and on-the spot conflict resolution on case by case basis. To feel well at night in Vilnius for both those who seek entertainment, work, create new jobs, organise night events, and those who want to have a comfortable rest – changes need to be made’, said M. A. Harold.
A feasibility study for 24-hour Vilnius
According to the City’s representative, the plans are to complete the feasibility study by the summer. It should look into the flows in Vilnius, the most frequented places, etc. Following the analysis of the outcomes of the study and recommendations from the experts, specific proposals will be made as regards the promotion of nightlife in some areas and its suppression in others.
‘Vilnius is growing fast and many people want to live, work and have an entertaining life here. The aim of this project is to pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of the city culture and infrastructure, as well as to encourage dialogue between the City, the population and entrepreneurs, ensure security, prevention of conflicts and take into account the needs of all the people. Vilnius must lead Europe in this respect. Its development must be safe and stable, not chaotic by any means’, said the project promoter.
A detailed study will be useful also for designing the urban infrastructure, as the awareness of certain principles may prompt appropriate solutions for connections and streets that the busiest at night.
The detailed study and its analysis will get about 50 000 euros, and the same size in allocations will go to the implementation of the decisions.
Urban visionaries have no doubts about the necessity of the idea
‘The night economy is present in all cities and towns. Vilnius has a thriving economy, which continues after 7 p.m., creates jobs, encourages the development of creative industries and offers interesting proposals for tourists. The better we understand the role and value of the night economy, the more profitable, healthy and attractive our cities will be. Vilnius has huge opportunities to take advantage of its available resources to engage young people, attract talent and promote the city across the world‘, says Danny Keir, director of business development at Sound Diplomacy in London.
Urban Night Economy and Sound Diplomacy, a culture contributing heavily to creating the London Nightlife Commission and designating the first London Night Mayor to form his role in life in London, prepared a visit to the Night Cycle of the Night “The Night Cross”.