24-Hour Business Clusters >> Advent Policy Brief #13

One of the hardest adjustments moving from Ottawa to Saint John was the sharp reduction in business hours in retail and food services available to me. My thirteenth Advent Policy Brief suggests municipalities take the lead in creating clusters of 24-hour businesses. 

Personally, it would provide great comfort knowing there's always a safe, well-lit place to go and just exist outside of home on my own schedule. That kind of space would definitely influence my geographic considerations moving to a new place.

Cafes, diners, gyms, and drug stores stores are the first services that come to mind when I think about a 24-hour cluster, but there's no reason to limit the possibilities. Offering automated library and government services would lend significant legitimacy to 24-hour spaces of commerce.

Municipalities are best situated to get this kind of initiative rolling. Through subsidies, zoning, transit planning, and consultation, councils can lead their communities to welcoming diverse people with diverse schedules. 

Night shift workers, insomniacs, and procrastinated students with deadlines should have a safe place to shop for essentials and caffeinate themselves. Add jet-lagged travelers and all-night revelers. In much less glamorous consideration, there are certainly people for whom nursing a hot chocolate at 3 am is safer, more dignified, or less lonely than the other options available to them. 

Healthy communities need tending to around the clock.