Alcohol, city and nightlife: ten cities meet in Lyon on the initiative of the French and European Forums

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Lyon, France, February 2014 – Even though the European “Safer Drinking Scenes” project is now closed, discussions within the European and French Forums on the theme of nightlife continue and are gaining pace. Cities member of our network show a lot of interest in this topic and they are determined to keep sharing their views and experience in order to build together a common vision.

Ten French cities participated on 27 and 28 February in a meeting in Lyon, on the initiative of the French and European Forums for Urban Security. The objectives of this meeting, organised in partnership with the city of Lyon, were to present the approach adopted by Lyon, to take part in a night time field visit, and to exchange on the current developments in the participating cities (notably Lille, Bordeaux, Brest, La Rochelle, Lorient, Montpellier and Marseille), their problems, projects and needs. The aim was also to build a work programme.

In Lyon as elsewhere, nightlife represents a challenge for policymakers, which involves also specific policies dealing with culture, health, security and the nightlife economy. Cultural events such as the Fête des Lumières (festival of lights) and the Nuits Sonores (“sound nights”), the presence of cafés, bars and nightclubs, as well as the new leisure areas created through major urban renovation programmes (the Berges de Rhône and Berges de Saône areas along the rivers Rhône and Saône) attract a large public: residents of Lyon and of the surrounding region, tourists, students… In Lyon as elsewhere, nightlife must be regulated and managed in order to prevent problems and to maintain peaceful coexistence at nighttime. This requires an efficient cooperation among the relevant municipal services, the private sector, the police, and all other interested public autorities.

A work programme to pool the expertise
During the meeting in Lyon, elected officials and technical staff of the city, in particular the service dedicated to managing nightlife, presented their views on this topic and their schemes for prevention, regulation and sanction. In particular, Lyon adopted in 2006 a Charter for Nightlife and has since initiated several actions based on this charter. It created several organisms that handle all aspects of nightlife, in particular a consultative commission for situational prevention and a unit in charge of monitoring nightlife.

Following the presentation of these developments and the nighttime field visit (organised with the union of hospitality professionals, the Union des Métiers et des Industries de l’Hôtellerie), participants debated about the new challenges posed by nightlife on which cities need to work:
–       What are the most efficient management, regulation and prevention tools available to cities? How can they be evaluated?
–       How to manage spaces that are partly public and partly private? Also, how to intervene in private spaces when they are used for alcohol abuse?
–       What are the success factors of partnerships between the city and the private sector (in particular nightlife businesses)?
–       How to create a nightlife that corresponds to the needs of local residents, tourists and students while ensuring the harmonious development of the city?

In order to address these challenges, the European Forum presented a work programme that will contribute to strengthen and pool the knowledge and expertise. Cities will have the opportunity to take part in training sessions, work groups, study trips and seminars. Furthermore, in line with Efus’ principles of “cities helping cities”, the Forum will offer its expertise in specific support programmes aimed at helping cities to manage their nightlife policy. This work programme will soon be offered to all Efus members.

For more information, please contact:
Mark Burton-Page