The NSW government plans to make Sydney a ’24-hour city’ with these 5 steps

The state government wants to boost Sydney’s nightlife
  • The NSW government has released a report outlining plans to make Sydney a ’24 hour city’.
  • The idea is to boost Sydney’s nighttime economy, including the arts, entertainment and events sectors.
  • These are the five main strategies the government has in place to create this 24 hour city.
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Could Sydney become the next city that never sleeps?

The New South Wales Government is planning to create a ’24 hour Sydney’ to boost the city’s night-time economy – how people spend their free time after dark, across activities like live music, food festivals, night clubs and sporting events.

The state government released a Sydney 24 Hour Economy Strategy report which details how it’s planning to ramp up the potential of Sydney’s nightlife.

And yes, while you may be aware that the global coronavirus pandemic is still ongoing, the report said it created an opportunity “not only to plan to re-open Sydney’s night-time economy, but also to reshape the meaning of Sydney’s night-time experience”.

The report outlines a “pathway for recovery” across Sydney’s night scene, with five main ‘pillars’ of action it will take to get there. It comes after a number of efforts the state government introduced to address Sydney’s nightlife, from trialling a new licence for pop up bars and events to ditching lockout laws in January 2020.

So, without further ado, here are the five pillars under the Sydney 24 Hour Economy Strategy and what they entail:

Integrated planning and place making

Under this scheme, a coordinator general will be appointed to implement the 24 hour economy. There will also be a program to certify 24 hour hubs and a streamlining of safety and inspection measures within in these hubs. It will also mean having a ‘Neon Grid’ – a framework that would identify and represent the 24 hour economy.

This strategy will involve the use of underused public and private spaces for small live performances and arts and culture events.

Diversification of night-time activities

This is all about having a mix of attractions that can cater to different cultures, ages and income levels.

Under this strategy, opening hours will be extended across some retail businesses and cultural institutions, restrictions on food trucks and pop up stores will be eased and requirements for creating cultural events in public spaces will be simplified.

It will also involve the streamlining of liquor licensing and supporting globally significant events both Australian and international. Not to mention having sporting precincts with “inclusive before and after activities”.

Industry and cultural development

This strategy is about supporting each industry that makes up the 24 hour economy, particularly in the arts, music and performance sectors.

It will involve creating sub-sector ‘playbooks’ and support services for entrepreneurs, creators, clubs and pubs to help them steer their way through licences and grants while also providing training and networking opportunities.

It also means making sure there are affordable spaces for creative industries, holding ongoing business engagement forums and attracting (and retaining) talent in Sydney’s night time sectors.

Mobility and improved connectivity

For this strategy, the government wants to implement measures to improve the safety of people moving in and out of the 24 hour economy hubs.

It will mean extending late night transport options and looking at ways to improve parking. “Councils could consider adjustments to night-time and weekend parking rates to support visitation to these locations,” the report said.

There’s a plan to support ‘end of trip’ safety options for people when they go home, such as parking bays for on demand services like ridesharing and CCTV coverage. And the government is looking into putting art installations and creative lighting in public transport spaces to create a more enjoyable experience.

Changing the narrative

The fifth and final ‘pillar’ to the state government’s plan is creating a new narrative that changes the perception of Sydney. While the city has an art, culture and entertainment scene, it has been perceived as a city with too many rules that make it challenging for people in the entertainment sector.

“Prior to COVID-19, Sydney’s predominant narrative was still focused on license laws and policing night-time activity, particularly with regards to alcohol-related activity,” the report said.

“In a post-pandemic world, the conversation must be widened to take on a more forward-thinking and holistic view of the city’s nightlife, including public information campaigns around night-time safety and grassroots marketing initiatives to promote unique experiences.”

This strategy will focus on marketing and promoting nighttime industries in Sydney with the collaboration between Destination NSW, Transport NSW, Create NSW and the NSW Treasury.

It will see the Neon Grid become the central place for all the information related to Sydney’s night-time hubs and creating for these hubs.

“A 24-hour Sydney brand will be developed to underscore the message that Sydney is a truly global city with a vibrant, diverse, inclusive and safe 24-hour economy,” the report said.