– Cities around the world are very much alike in many ways, says Lutz Leichsenring, co-founder of VibeLab and night time economy/culture/community ambassador.
– The cities are dominated by real estate companies, shopping malls, coffee chains ... But you are not going to experience the cool underground Stockholm when you go to a shopping mall. What creates a unique experience and a special identity of the city, a sense of belonging to it – is its cultural vibrancy. From this point of view, night life is a very interesting field, as people tend to come together at night, mingle and ‘loosen up’. That is a very important factor for society.
Lutz Leichsenring advocates that nightlife sets the cultural scene and creates the atmosphere which helps to shape the identity of a city. Starting almost 20 years ago with establishing one of the largest digital platforms for the German nightlife, he recognized the fact that there is a gap between the interests of the creative communities and interests of government, municipality and public. Looking at the city from the top-down approach involves a lot of money, plans, expectations and big decisions. However, he says, it does not show how much love has been invested into certain buildings or certain projects developed by the community, which are actually shaping the identity of the city.
Now is the right time to bridge that gap. There is indeed an interest on both parties – arising from authorities as well as creative communities – the need for a solution. Lutz believes that there are quite some good solutions being developed in Berlin, Amsterdam and some other cities, on how to create a common sense of understanding between creative people and big decision-makers. He is eager to share those solutions, to fill the gap, and to work with creating the cities of the future.
– If we want to develop cities for future generations - cities that attract millennials, people who can work remotely from all over the world if they want to - we need to think about these people’s needs. You don’t string them along only with money. You get them by providing an atmosphere in which they feel welcome, in which they can explore and be a part of the process, not just as observers. So, to develop a city where people can be living, breathing, meeting and connecting with each other, we need to create places for that. And such places could be found in creative communities and nightlife scenes.