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Creative Footprint project finds numbers behind nightlife’s impact

A new project rates the size and strength of a city’s nightlife scene, starting with Berlin

Berlin nightlife
The Friedrichshain neighborhood in Berlin, decorated with posters and flyers in September 2015
Shutterstock

A city’s cultural capital, and the breadth of its arts and nightlife scenes, can often be the factors that make urban life exciting and enjoyable. A newly launched initiative pairing leading researchers with club industry experts seeks put facts and figures behind concerts, clubs, and galleries, giving residents and local government a better sense of their impact.

Called the Creative Footprint, the new non-profit initiative seeks to “protect creative space and artistic freedom through civic engagement” by measuring and indexing urban creative spaces in the world’s global cities. Ideally, the information can be used as a means to help advocate for progressive regulations.

Led by Lutz Leichsenring, head of the Berlin Clubcommission, a nightlife industry advocacy group formed in 2000, the partnership is supported by Black Circle Media and Red Bull, and taps into extensive research by Musicboard Berlin and Harvard University. Leichsenring has seen how much impact nightlife can have on a city. Berlin’s night-time economy is estimated to generate $82.4 million a year and employ 8 percent of workforce, according to economic consultant TBR.

“By coupling a broad set of criteria with expert local insight, the Creative Footprint will develop the world’s first index of creative space and advocate for the value of nurturing vibrant arts scenes, help to save jobs as well as create a basis for overall social responsibility,” Leichsenring wrote in a statement.

Tresor nightclub in Berlin
Ullstein Bild/Getty Images

So far, the project has only analyzed the creative scene in Berlin. In addition to gathering hard data—the city has 500 music venues, approximately one per 7,000 people, which host an average of 2,700 events per month—the report also broke down venues by neighborhood (the most club-dense are Kreuzberg with 106, Friedrichshain with 74, and Neukölln with 56) and gave Berlin an overall score of 8.2 out of 10, as a means to compare to other cities.

A series of editorial features also tells more of the story of the city’s vibrant music scene, especially in regards to electronic and dance music. Interviews with figures such as Dimitri Hegemann (Tresor), Sascha Disselkamp (Sage Club, Fiese Remise), Falk Walter (Arena, Club Visionaere, Ipse) and Steffen Hack (Watergate) explore the history of the scene and put the numbers into context.

“We decided to start the project with Berlin because we believed that it would set the standard for music scenes around the world,” said Leichsenring.

The project will soon begin an international rollout and cover other cities, including London, Amsterdam, New York, Los Angeles, and Sao Paulo.

Berlin nightlife analysis Creative Foorprint