Michael Fichman is a champion for Philadelphia’s nighttime economy, leading the campaign to establish the Nighttime Economy Office in 2021. He brings a diverse background in music, planning, and advocacy in arts and culture to his work. Fichman advocates for data as the “translation machine” that gets information to government leaders, allowing them to make policy “by fact, not fear.” In this interview he shares research on trends in Philadelphia’s nighttime safety, arguing that nighttime destination corridors have less gun violence than average in the city.
For those seeking to establish a nighttime management and governance office, Fichman makes three recommendations:
1. Proposals must be developed and presented from an official source such as university or an established institution
2. Extensive preparation is required with data to present the organizing ideas to government officials
3. A diverse network of stakeholders for advocacy is required as a foundation, with an office staff to forward policy recommendations on harm reduction and economic development
Michael Fichman is a Lecturer and the Interim Program Director in the Master of Urban Spatial Analytics (MUSA) program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Weitzman School of Design. As city planner who practices and researches in a variety of fields, Michael is an international leader in policy, research, and advocacy related to nighttime cities and nightlife arts and culture - a practice based on his 20 years in the music industry as a DJ, producer, composer and label executive. He is an editor and author of the Global Nighttime Recovery Plan, an influential multinational effort to support nighttime industries through the pandemic. He is a member of Philadelphia City Council’s Arts and Culture Task Force.