What if we lived in a world that never switched off? That is, a world where we don’t have to go to bed at night time; a world where we could alter and customise our sleep cycle by choosing when and where we sleep; a world where the key is not enhancing your routine or trying to fit more hours of the day, but reasonably, in reducing or at least improving your sleep time. As you read through this article have a think about what our world might look like in 2050 and how sleep will fit into this imagined scenario!
In the hyperactive and fast paced world we live in there are cities amongst us that don’t go to sleep. 24-hour transport, late night shopping and bars without lockouts make them the key to internationally recognized nocturnal cities. By examining technological and social change in contemporary society, here is a look at how some of the biggest cities in the world that linger in the spectacle of our future.
In Germany each town or city determines closing times. For Berlin this means there’s no such thing as lockout laws. Bars decide on their hours independently with the majority operating according to the movement and ultimatum of the dynamic nightlife. Such judicial looseness has created some of the most diverse and innovative nightlife to be found on the globe. The 24hr city is known for its rehabilitated industrial areas, everlasting rave sessions and abundance of arty drinking spots. Not to mention the 24hr transport.
Similar to Berlin, Tokyo’s legislation is tolerant around alcohol and hours, bars, and clubs. Restaurants of all shapes, sizes, themes and clientele always keep their doors open. The city is committed to a huge array of quirky 24-hour activities that include, ten-pin bowling, ping-pong, shopping and relaxing in an onsen (Japanese thermal bath).
If there is a city that does nighttime, without any queries or questions, it’s Barcelona. Legislation that packs up the festivity and sends you off to bed is far from probable to happen with most bars finishing up at 3am to 6am. However, that doesn’t turn the city into a 24-hr affair with a small part of the afternoon dedicated to siesta.
Now that we have this potential for 24hr cities at our fingertips, what should we do with it? Many acclaim the vivacity, excitement, confidence and lucrative reimbursements of a 24-hr megalopolis. Marion Roberts a professor of urban design at the University of Westminster resolves that it “generates more jobs, activities and social solitaries”. (Basulto 2014) With enough neon and insomnia at our disposal can we turn them into places where we can do anything we want when we want and to what extent does a cosmopolitan city depend on infinite opening hours?
Before I go, heres a concept I have imagined to keep your future forecasting in tact; Sydney 2050 is an active metropolis 24hrs a day and 7 days a week, where the idea of night and day is merged, challenging the essence of time and when we sleep. To accommodate to this futuristic 24hr realm, our sleep patterns are broken up into polyphasic sleep cycles. This combines all the benefits of sleeping into a new type of experience, available on demand, with interactive sleeping pods scattered all over the city to allow anyone to sleep anywhere and at any time.
Think of the possibilities!
Crittenden, J. 2015, ‘When do the world’s best cities go to sleep?’, Blog post, 2015, viewed 31 August 2016, <http://concreteplayground.com/sydney/food-drink/nightlife/when-do-the-worlds-best-cities-go-to-sleep/>.