Dear 24-Hour London

Have you ever imagined what would a 24-hour city look like? I wish there are 168 hours every day. Please forgive my exaggeration but tell me I am not the only one who thinks the extra hours are sometimes important. The more I think about the 168 hours idea the more I begin to question what if the city operate day and night. How does that transform the territory? What would it be benefit socially and economically? Double GDP because of more tourist? There were few times I walked down Oxford Street in London with disappointment because shops closed at 8 p.m and street was empty at 8.30p.m. There is occasionally a tourist crowd in front of Selfridges watching drums playing. My bet is empty street will turn into a carnival if there are pop-up stores or the fashion shows at night.

I know I know… some of you must be thinking am I suggesting to work 24 hours instead of 9-6. Definitely no. I am arguing the 24 Hours city would add another experience and would strengthening knowledge production. I propose some fun and playful night time space across the city based on the 6 themes below in order to expand, which knowledge, agents, institutions, organisations, and society as a whole are the result of relation through a heterogeneous network.

I have picked London as an example to look at last week for several reasons.

  1. It is one of the most travelled cities in the world and has a diverse range of people and cultures.
  2. London’s universities form the largest concentration of higher education institutes in Europe.
  3. Climate change is the biggest issue human is facing. If we ever wait to Conference of Parties’ negotiations organised by UNFCCC it’s very slow. We cannot afford it and headquarters that contributed to climate change is in London, therefore instead of talking to the government, negotiations should start from here in the city.

I sketched my ideas why night time is the right time and wrote five letters to London ( 2017, 2020, 2025, 2030, 2035) imagining how space operates and grow. Here is my letter to 2020 London.

Let me know your ideas for any cities.


Dear London,

You are incredible and have changed so much since 2017. The 24-hour you are unique and profligate combining with things, buildings, practices, rituals, technologies, texts, animals, screens, networks, object, people and much more. I can see doing great effect on both local and national level, it is not only contributing to the economy with significant GDP increase but also boasting the creativity and social values.

I went to watch a show on a boat in Hyde Park with the most beautiful lighting effect. Also, the way the dancers interact with the water is so poetic. I think it must be the jet-lag which gives me so much energy so I wasn’t feeling tired at all after a long day. So after the show, I took the night tube to Oxford street to grab some snacks from the organic food store and manage to wander a bit around the pop-up retails. A local designer told me if I come next weekend there will be a fashion shows starts at 9 p.m. “ Fashion shows? Really. I thought it only happened at Somerset house once a year in London?” I asked excitedly. “Oh the fashion show is organised by some start-up and collaborate with high street fashion designers” she continued “ It was a great move to have this fashion show at night as Oxford street sees 700,000 people on a typical Saturday and an average of 4.3 million visitors a week. Oxford street and winder West End are very important to London’s economy, generating nearly 20% of its GDP  87% of shoppers move around the west end on foot.” She continued with some accurate figures. The local designer and I started exchanging background and I was even invited for a drink in Soho to meet her flatmate who is in the film industry. We walked from Oxford circus to SoHo and passed all the night clubs and pubs, which was about 15 mins on foot to her flatmate’s studio and I felt quite safe with the new developed surveillances systems in London. I pushed the studio door with a quote saying “If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.”, when I saw the projection on the wall, it has blown my mind with all the CGI effects they were testing.

The extended hours in Soho street was not only full of night clubs but also creative clusters. Seriously, Soho cluster has been growing for 350 years since the Huguenots first set up here. It now has the biggest concentration of Oscars outside Hollywood and some of the world’s most creative brands and service companies are based in here. “ It’s the best 24 Hours London ever, we had so much great ideas with all the internationals flying in all the time and we have ideas bound back and forth, if we are stuck, we had a break to the Spa and even join the informal debates with 2 pounds beer per bottle near Speakers corners at 8.30 after dinner as they have the most up to date issues and topics, you know just like the coffee houses back in 18th century,  its as quick as twitter.” said the film producer with her face beaming.

I also exchanged my favourite night-time space with her, which she loves it and promise the next document will be featuring how London leading to take action on climate change. It was the space of discoveries and space of negotiations near Royal Society. They are now discussing climate change issues with all the headquarters who contribute to climate change. I think its great action is way too slow organised by UNFCCC and IPCC

Anyhow, I must write you another letter, as I need to catch my flight now and write you in detail with my supporting documents including my sketches, books and photographs. If you ever asked me which is my favourite moment, I can’t decide now. However, the knowledge, agents, institutions, organisations, and society as a whole acting as a catalyst with such effects are the result of relations enacted through heterogeneous networks. Please keep the great work going. I had such a lovely time with my friends.

Thank you for having me. See you very soon!



June 2020  x

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