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Mayor Bowser and Washington, DC Selected to Host 2021 Sociable City Summit

Friday, September 27, 2019

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Bowser announced that Washington, DC was selected as the host city for the Responsible Hospitality Institute (RHI) 2021 Sociable City Summit, the premier event for nightlife district planning and management.

“Washington, DC has a thriving nightlife economy because we have a little bit of something for everyone to explore and experience – from our world-class restaurants and bars, to our diverse neighborhoods and local cultural attractions,” said Mayor Bowser. “I look forward to welcoming professionals and city planners from across the country and showcasing all that DC has to offer.”

Washington, DC’s robust and growing nighttime economy generated $3.8 billion in sales in 2017 according to the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAWM). As of 2016, DC had nearly 1,300 restaurants, bars, and clubs, an increase of 63% since 2008.

“This event series is a must-attend for myself and others dedicated to supporting Mayor Bowser’s mission to make ‘Life at Night’ in Washington, DC socially inclusive and culturally diverse for our residents and visitors,” said Shawn Townsend, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Nightlife and Culture. “We look forward to sharing and receiving nightlife best practices from other jurisdictions, as well as showing everyone how vibrant Washington, DC can be at night.”

Global thought leaders and advocates will attend the Summit to share innovation in the following emerging areas:

  • Preserving the creative culture of entrepreneurs in culinary, craft beverages, music and performance art
  • Sustaining vibrancy and manage chaos
  • Preventing crime and disorder through environmental design
  • Enhancing diverse and accessible social options
  • Coordinating trends in micro-transit and shared mobility for patrons and employees
  • Mitigating sound impacts to ensure residential quality of life
  • Transitioning to recreational cannabis in social districts
  • Police training, scheduling and deployment methods for nightlife districts

In 2018, Mayor Bowser signed into legislation and appointed Director Townsend to lead the first ever Office of Nightlife and Culture. The office’s mission is to serve as an intermediary between nightlife establishments (restaurants, bars, nightclubs, art galleries, and sporting venues), residents, and District agencies. The office aims to promote the nighttime economy and preserve the District’s vibrant culture.

Teams of 5-15 from cities across the nation can attend the Summit, which will feature diverse stakeholders, including elected officials, city planners and managers, business district managers, police and other public safety agencies, and hospitality and entertainment venues.

"The RHI Summit is an incredible opportunity to learn about creative cutting-edge approaches to cultivating sociable cities and celebrating culture while also managing some of the issues that cause conflict,” said Natalie Avery, Executive Director of the DC BID Council. “The summit includes a range of practical and thoughtful workshops and panel discussions along with time to connect with and learn from practitioners.”

“Washington, DC is a global leader in its approach to nighttime planning and management,” said Jim Peters, President of the Responsible Hospitality Institute (RHI), the convener of the Summit. “The city has a dedicated infrastructure of support for life at night ranging from the Office of Nightlife and Culture to specialized police officer training for nightlife districts.”

RHI began hosting events in 1984 with the First Northeast Conference on Alcohol Server Liability in Boston. The current Sociable City Summit series, focused on nightlife district planning and management, began in 2015 in Los Angeles and continued in yearly succession in Charleston, SC; Austin, TX; New Orleans, LA; Philadelphia, PA, and in Seattle, WA in 2020.

Additional information is at www.rhiweb.org.