4 Ways In Which Delhi Could Be Turned Into A Successful All-Night City
The Union government has proposed that all Indian states, including Delhi, should allow brick-and-mortar stores to operate throughout the night. The Narendra Modi government wants India's rank in World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index to be 50, and this proposal is part of the plan to achieve that target. However, even if the government allows shops to open throughout night, will it be enough to create a vibrant night culture? How can Delhi be an all-night city?
- If has more high-rises in areas where demand for residential and commercial property is high, night culture would be more sustainable. The reason is that businesses will have access to a larger number of households and firms. If buildings are taller, near a good restaurant or supermarket, there would be more companies in which people work in night shifts. There would also be more night owls. In New York, the city that never sleeps, floor space index (FSI) in some areas is stretchable to 25. In , it remains in the range of two-three. FSI is the ratio of the area of floor to the size of a plot.
- In his book 'Insomnia: A Cultural History', Eluned Summers-Bremner points out that on cities across the world, night culture flourished when avenues of entertainment were built in the 18th and 19th century. Improved lighting arrangements were also a reason why night culture flourished more in urban areas in the first world. The quality of public roads and safety also matter.
- A major part of operating costs to run stores, restaurants and malls in metropolises like Delhi goes in paying high rent of office space. When brick-and-mortar stores are allowed to be open in the night, they will be able to recover the cost of rent. (Rents are unlikely to quickly rise across the board when the government allows eateries to operate at any time of the day.) However, the cost of employees working in many different shifts would also be high. For night culture to be vibrant in a certain market, the catchment area should be sufficiently large. To facilitate this, the Delhi government will have to raise FSI.
- A common perception is that human relationships are weaker in large cities and high rises. However, Harvard economist Edward Glaeser points out that empirical research suggest that people have a stronger sense of community in tall residential projects. (Even in slums such Dharavi (in Mumbai), the sense of community is stronger and people tend to watch over each other.) This in turn lowers the likelihood of crime. When the likelihood of crime is lower, stores will be operate safely in the night and people will visit them more frequently. Tokyo is known as one of the world's safest cities, partly because of high density residential development.