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Lisbon creates 24-hour district

About a year ago I wrote a post called, Lisbon is the new Berlin. The timing of the post happened to coincide with Monocle’s first ever Quality of Life Conference, which was held in the city.

Since then, I’ve been keeping an eye out for all things Lisbon and the city has quickly jumped to the top of my list of places I want to visit. I am obsessed with understanding the triggers that catalyze change within a community and/or city.

On a related note, Lisbon has recently put in place new regulations to control nightlife in the city. Bars in certain areas must now close at 2am on the weekdays and 3am on the weekends. Outdoor patios must close at midnight. If you have the right kind of soundproofing though, your bar can remain open until 4am. The impetus for these changes was to address nightlife noise complaints – a perennial problem in many cities.

However, Lisbon has also created a 24-hour district along a supposedly underdeveloped area of the waterfront. This means that bars and clubs in this area will have the option of staying open 24/7. At the same time though, investments are being made (Portuguese article) to transform the area into something more than just a place for drinking and dancing.

I am noticing a real trend in European cities around using nightlife as a strategic lever to attract talent and revitalize neighborhoods. Oftentimes the knee jerk reaction is to simply focus on the negative externalities associated with nightlife. But there are strategic benefits. Many cities today recognize that.

Image: Mhx on Flickr

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