|Zeitschrift für Stadtforschung|
Ilse van Liempt & Irina van Aalst
Irina van Aalst & Ilse van Liempt: Department of Human Geography and Planning, Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, the Netherlands. E-mail: i.vanaalst(at)geo.uu.nl.
Jelle Brands: Department of Human Geography and Planning, Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, the Netherlands
Tjerk Timan: Science, Technology, Health and Policy Studies, School of Management and Governance, University of Twente, the Netherlands
Tim Schwanen: Transport Studies Unit, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Artikel aus Ausgabe 44
urbanize - Int. Festival für urbane Erkundungen
Surveillance in Urban Nightscapes
a research project
In keeping with the shift toward consumption as the economic basis of cities, nightlife entertainment districts have come to play an increasingly important role in the fortunes of urban economies across Europe. For the most part these districts are located in city centres where bars, restaurants, discos, cinemas and clubs are spatially clustered. They often attract large numbers of nighttime visitors looking for fun, adventure and enjoyment. The urban night, however, is a distinctive space-time. Compared to daytime, it offers more intense emotional experiences and provides more opportunities for transgressive and anti-social behaviour, including public drunkenness and alcohol-related violence.
One consequence of the increased importance of the nighttime economy and the pervasive culture of fear surrounding nightlife districts has been the intensification of surveillance: police agents, private security firms and technologically advanced CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) systems aim to reduce crime and make visitors’ experience of the nightlife area as pleasant as possible. The rationale underpinning this approach is that new visitors may be attracted to nightlife areas if they are safer and more secure. However, the implementation of enhanced security measures for the benefit of some visitors may entail the exclusion of other groups, who may be singled out by surveillance agents as constituting a potential risk on the basis of their race/ethnicity, dress, comportment, etc. These issues raise questions about the effects of surveillance practices on the public character of public spaces. In this article we discuss a research project on Surveillance in Urban Nightlife Districts in the Dutch city centres of Utrecht, Rotterdam and Groningen that examines the complex relations between surveillance, security and the publics of nightlife districts.
Irina van Aalst*, Ilse van Liempt*, Jelle Brands*, Tjerk Timan** and Tim Schwanen***
* Department of Human Geography and Planning, Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, the Netherlands. E-mail: i.vanaalst(at)geo.uu.nl.
** Science, Technology, Health and Policy Studies, School of Management and Governance, University of Twente, the Netherlands.
*** Transport Studies Unit, School of Geography and the Environment,
University of Oxford, United Kingdom.
The Surveillance in Urban Nightscapes research project is
funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research