Sydney is set to become a 24-hour city, meaning the New South Wales capital will be given a new lease of life at nighttime through expanded cultural, leisure and social activities for all ages, and increased public transport options.

Urban planners are giving residents and visitors more options to enjoy Sydney outside of 9-5 hours under a new strategy. Known as the Sydney 24-Hour Economy Strategy, the blueprint lays out sustainable measures to help businesses and activities thrive during nighttime hours. Measures include extended opening hours for cultural institutions; identifying spaces that could be reclaimed for outdoor dining, art installations, concerts, shows, festivals, and mini parks; reducing restrictions on liquor licensing and live music; and increasing public transport options.

"At its core, our objective is to create a 24-hour city that is world renowned for its vibrancy, diversity, safety and access to amenity right throughout the day and night," Stuart Ayres, Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney, said in a statement. "To compete on the world stage and create jobs, we must have a fantastic afterdark experience and 24-hour amenities for all to enjoy."

Stalls at the Sydney Morning Herald Qantas Good Food Month Festival
Markets, food trucks and pop-up restaurants could apply for nighttime licences under the new plan ©Greg Elms/Lonely Planet

The strategy aims to move away from its nightlife dependence on the consumption of alcohol and strike the right balance with safety and vibrancy. During the development of the strategy, the NSW Treasury commissioned a series of community discussion workshops across Sydney and found that 78% of people wanted more night-time activities that do not centre around alcohol, and 83% of people (aged 18- 29 years) would prefer to spend their money on experiences over material objects.

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The goals of the Sydney 24-Hour Economy Strategy ©NSW Treasury

The report said it will ensure that all voices are heard in the move towards a more inclusive, 24-hour culture, and noted the coronavirus pandemic has created an opportunity "not only to plan to re-open Sydney’s night-time economy, but also to reshape the meaning of Sydney’s nighttime experience."

The changes are part of Sydney’s recovery from the pandemic but most won't come into play until current COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted. You can access the full report here

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