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Cleaning up the streets : Newcastle-upon-Tyne’s night-time neighbourhood services team.

Shaw, Robert (2014) 'Cleaning up the streets : Newcastle-upon-Tyne’s night-time neighbourhood services team.', in Infrastructural lives : urban infrastructure in context. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, pp. 174-196.


The streets of Britain’s city centres are busy at night: taxi drivers, ‘revellers’, fast food sellers, bouncers, policemen, street pastors, leafleteers and more take to the streets to promote, produce or consume the night-time economy. ‘Night-time economy studies’ has catalogued this vast range of activities associated with consumption in city centres at night, particularly within a British context. Roberts and Eldridge’s comprehensive overview of research across social science on the night-time economy provides examples of research into many of these groups, and more. In revealing such a wide and mature academic field, however, research relating to infrastructural maintenance at night is conspicuous in its absence, despite an awareness of the importance of the night as a time for maintenance (Roberts and Eldridge, 2009:26). Separately from this research into the night-time economy, a growing literature has begun to emphasise the need for social scientists to look at repair and maintenance of cities (Graham and Marvin, 2001, Herod and Aguiar, 2006, Graham and Thrift, 2007). In urban geography, as this edited collection shows, this increase in attention paid to repair and maintenance has begun to reveal that, far from a ‘back stage’ of the city (Goffman, 1959), infrastructure takes on a central role in everyday, and everynight, urban experience. Furthermore, rather than just a tool, resource, opportunity or hindrance, infrastructure presents itself as constitutive of urban life (Pieteerse, 2008) and, by extension, the urban subjectivities which emerge from this. Once again, however, the night as a specific site of repair and maintenance is often overlooked as unproblematically a time of ‘out-of-the-way’ repair, which has little direct impact on the urban other than in hiding some of the dirtiest jobs which constitute a city (Herod and Aguiar, 2006).

Item Type:Book chapter
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Publisher statement:This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Infrastructural lives: urban infrastructure in context on 13/10/2014, available online:
Record Created:17 Jul 2014 13:05
Last Modified:27 Jul 2016 12:55

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