Virtually no cities are entirely 24-hours all year round, noted Marion Roberts, a professor of urban design at London’s University of Westminster. Extending late-night hours extends the hours of a city’s economy, Roberts said, but there are downsides as well. Common concerns about keeping a city up all night relate to noise, traffic and alcohol consumption.
And the concerns are not misguided. For example, a 2010 World Health Organization study stated that New York is the world’s loudest city, followed by Tokyo, Nagasaki and Buenos Aires. In addition, the Institute of Alcohol Studies found that the late-night economic activity of 24-hour cities is largely tied to alcohol consumption, a conclusion Roberts arrived at in her own 2005 study on 24-hour cities, which said that this is “not a desirable urban philosophy for the 21st Century”.
No matter what shape it takes, a night-time economy relies on a night-time workforce. Night shift workers are far more prone to having sleep disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, metabolic problems, cancer,diabetes, depression and a number of other health problems.
Labour laws vary from country to country – in the US, for instance, there are virtually no special constraints placed on overnight work, whereas in Spain, overtime is not allowed for night shift workers – but the onus is almost always on the employer to regulate night-time working conditions.
“Creating a healthy work environment isn’t just a nice thing to do… it’s smart business,” Ballard insisted, since it can lead to “better product and service quality, better performance, higher levels of productivity, lower absenteeism, lower turnover rates, fewer accidents, better customer service ratings… and nowadays, many companies are concerned with keeping health care costs in check. The challenge is, the more people that are working overnight, the more support services you need.”
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Source: BBC Travel
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