The 24 hour city
For many years, New York City has been larger than life as each street presents itself as an idea, a concept and a conventional thoroughfare. Whether it is ‘Little Italy’, the bohemian artistic styles of ‘The Village’ or the middle class status of the ‘Upper West Side’, New York is full of diversity, multiculturalism and entertainment. It may be suggested its status as “The” global city, was in fact the very first and caused reason for change in the likes of rival cities London and Paris.
With elements of high and pop culture, taking over Paris as the capital of art history in the 1940’s, New York takes full advantage of the aspects of leisure and entertainment in its fast pace, dense society. With a rich immigrant culture on Manhattan and fellow burrows where Queens boasts about obtaining more Irish than Dublin and Harlem with a large African-American culture, it is evident, greater New York City is a place of diverse education and development of ideas. Similar trends have taken place in London, where a rich immigrant population of Afro-Caribbean and Indians has allowed for a diverse place of culture and leisure moving away from the “dreary” London of the 1970’s .
These concepts have created a new wave of city, the “24 hour” city. With famous shopping areas such as Covert Garden and Piccadilly Square in London, tourists flock to the most expensive of cities in the world to grasp a taste of what is so cleverly marketed to them amongst the architectural marvels of old London. Melbourne, on the other hand is an example of a different kind, with land of sprawling suburbs and 85% of the population living and working in urban settings, the temptation of the cities lure is great. Yet another poly-ethnic society, Melbourne has a rich culture of immigrant influence, which has moulded and changed society within the city over the past fifty years. Such ‘fragments’ through the hospitality industry, popular culture and local shops, have an influence on the growth of many areas.
There has been a hybrid and sensationalised transformation from an industrial to a post-industrial economy in western cities. As London and New York settle into a highly polarised society filled with social distress and inequality, they continue to thrive economically through redeveloping tired reminders of the production years and the ever-growing cultural successes and the cities fast paced tempo. Through building and rejuvenation projects, cities are witness to a reverse of the once appropriate concentric circle model as gentrification of working class areas are re-developed and middle and upperclassmen and women are moving back into inner city areas, closer to work. The city is no longer considered a place of vice, crime or a racial ghetto. Today the city is a vibrant educational experience where one can be immersed in what the city has to offer. It is a place of leisure; of learning and fun where first, second and third generation immigrants share their vast culture and heritage in restaurants, bars and artistic displays. These changes can too be seen throughout other, smaller cities around the world such as Melbourne. Although it does not claim global status, Melbourne shares in the benefits of a service-based economy with a large cultural following and development in an ever-growing urban space and will happily join its northern hemisphere counterparts in the not too distant future.