City centre rhythms: The case of gender in Dotonbori
Traditional social practice holds the urban night and day in binary opposition – each with a set of unique issues and problems to deal with. While such an attitude can be beneficial due to its clearness, it is at a risk of oversimplifying the fluidity of timespaces. Drawing on Henri Lefebvre’s rhythmanalytical framework and Deleuze-Guattarian assemblage thinking I show how a city centre is not only more complex than dualistic day/night thinking would suggest, but constitutes an assemblage held together by diurnal repetition. Using fieldwork conducted in Osaka, Japan as a demonstration, I suggest giving consideration to the rhythms of social practice to conceptualize of more multi-segmented timescapes where the social groups in majority follow a repetitive pattern. As an example, I compare the numbers of male and female visitors over time against the opening hours of local shops and restaurants. The research methods used include a combination of structured and unstructured observations in addition to cosinor analysis – a tool developed in chronobiology to test time series for rhythmicity. The results point highly local and temporary timespaces, which may hold implications for planning. An increased consideration of rhythms in local planning may improve predictions for when visitors to an area engage in what kind of activities, and in turn enable optimisations for local policy and planning.