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But what about the cities with low demand for city centre spaces e.g. Sunderland?
Apologies, but advocating for land use patterns that promote continued unchecked, low-density, suburban development into environmentally sensitive greenbelts and untouched greenfields as the answer, does not seem to be that revolutionary. Instead, it seems like a soft reason to continue to build the way that US has been building since the dawn of the suburb in the early 50’s and frankly seems pretty unresponsive to major regional issues like traffic congestion, watersheds, emergency services, etc.
The way to save nightlife in cities is to recognize the challenges of having both a nightlife community and residents in the same place and mitigate those challenges: 1) economic development incentives to create nightlife districts that provide nightlife spaces and can be regulated for sound and activity 2) sound mitigation in areas where nightlife comes up against residential 3) regulations which protect the first user into an area – agent of change.
There are much more creative and responsive ways to promote and protect nightlife than saying that we should keep moving people to suburbs.
Thanks for the comment. I agree with most of your points – let me clarify some elements.
I share your recommendations about how to mitigate the challenges of residents in city centres. But some of this already exist and it does not seem to be sufficient. Until recently, local authorities could not veto an office-to-residential conversion under PDR on the sole ground of commercial noise, so a number of flats have been built without the required features. Even now that local authorities can consider noise as part of the prior approval process there still seem to be issues in several neighbourhoods. The Bristol case exactly shows this: residents are complaining, and sound mitigation is not that easy to achieve for new buildings or for night venues.
To be very clear, it’s a good thing that city centres have more residents – this makes them more lively and attractive places to businesses and shops, and we are frequently arguing for repopulating city centres. But some cities are growing fast and in those places city centres are not able to absorb all population growth. So it’s not a case of moving people to suburbs, but just to make sure there is enough housing supply to meet demand. That’s why some cities need to expand. I also agree with you that new developments should not follow the kind of low-density suburban patterns we’ve seen in the past, and we’ve actually published a blog about this a few days ago (https://www.centreforcities.org/blog/increasing-density-answer-land-squeeze-successful-cities/).