43 | 2023
Nocturnal cities: past, present, and future
Cidades nocturnas: passado, presente e futuro
This special issue offers a selection of the most recent work in the field of urban night studies at a global scale. The first article of this special issue is co-authored by Martin Magidi and Tawanda Jimu. In their article “Urban livelihoods beyond industrial ruins : The birth of an informal nighttime economy in Norton, Zimbabwe”, they explore the emergence of an informal nighttime economy in Norton, Zimbabwe as a creative response to daytime work scarcity, regulations, and competition. It reveals how residents, facing the decline of traditional industries and increased urban poverty, innovatively turn to nocturnal activities to supplement their incomes. Using Long’s Actor-oriented theory, the study portrays these individuals as proactive agents who utilise the night as a vital space-time resource, circumventing daytime limitations. Through ethnographic methods, it showcases diverse ventures like night vending, informal fishing, and leisure activities, underscoring the community’s resilience and adaptability in an economically challenging environment. This shift to nocturnal activities is both a survival tactic and a demonstration of entrepreneurial spirit, marking a significant adaptation in the face of Norton’s economic hardships. This article enriches nighttime studies by providing a nuanced understanding of the nocturnal economy in a developing country, highlighting the informal sector’s role, and underscoring the agency of individuals in adapting to and shaping their economic environments.