Jess Reia

Jhessica Reia2020–2021 BMO Postoctoral Fellow

McGill University | jhessica.reia [at] mcgill.ca (Email)

Jess Reia is currently appointed as Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University. Reia holds a Ph.D. and an MA in Communication Studies from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and a BA in Public Policy from the University of Sao Paulo. Prior to coming to McGill, Reia was a Lecturer and Project Manager at the Center for Technology and Society at FGV Law School from 2011 to 2019. There, Reia worked with research and advocacy at the intersection of Urban Communication, Law, and Science & Technology Studies. Reia is a former Visiting Researcher at the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (2015-2016) and has been working as a free culture activist since 2008. Their dissertation on the regulation of street performance in Montreal and Rio was nominated for Best Dissertation in Communication Studies in Brazil and received an honourable mention from the UCF/IAMCR Urban Communication Research Grant in 2016. Current interests include urban governance, smart cities, and night-time policy.

Dr. Jess Reia’s CIRM-BMO postdoctoral research project 2020-2021, under the supervision of Prof. Will Straw, addresses the relations between a smart city agenda, urban governance mechanisms, and nightlife in Montreal.

The urban night is both a period of time and, in many imaginings, a “territory” with its own practices, populations, and forms of governance. The night of cities offers an opportunity to examine social and cultural dynamics that affect all of us, such as conflicts over night-time noise, the zoning of entertainment venues, the accessibility of public spaces, and the continued vitality of certain districts. New policy instruments and regulations implemented by municipal governments can change the way we experience the city after dark—and these challenges are quickly shapeshifting in face of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving us wondering where we are headed in the near future. In a few months, the pandemic has drastically changed social interaction, opening hours, and the relevance of night-time economic activity, thus putting on a strain on the financial sustainability of various businesses in the city.

For years, discussions of the night have happened in isolation from discussions of data and smart cities. There is a lack of data focusing specifically on night-time economies, and broader analyses of the impact of a smart city agenda beyond daylight, which leaves small business owners, neighbourhood associations, and artists navigating a troubled time without essential information.

In their research-action project, Smartness after Dark: Understanding Nightlife Governance and Urban Intelligence in Montreal, Dr. Jess Reia aims to understand the place of nightlife policy in relation to different real and possible urban governance mechanisms in Montreal (such as night councils, observatories, action plans, data hubs, etc.), keeping in mind the consolidation of a smart cities agenda in the city, and the current and upcoming challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Projects, affiliations, and publications

Night Council, MTL 24/24 (2020–2022)
Montreal’s Nightlife Policy, Service du développement économique, Ville de Montréal
  • Participation in the working group “Espaces et mobilités nocturnes” (2020)
  • Reports: Portrait diagnostic de la vie nocturne à Montréal (2020); Rapport sur les consultations citoyennes pour la nouvelle politique de la vie nocturne à Montréal (2021)
“Estudios sobre la noche/Night Studies/Études sur la nuit” (2020–2021)
  • An online seminar series co-organized by CISAN-UNAM (Mexico), CIRM (Canada), and the Institut de Géoarchitecture & IDA-Brest (France)
  • Official website
“Response to the City of Montreal’s public consultation on Montreal’s Digital Data Charter”
  • Published on CIRM’s blog The Urbanologist on January 8, 2021
  • English version
“Nighttime Governance in Times of COVID-19: Capacity-Building for Night Mayors and Other Nighttime Governance Institutions”
International Night Studies Network
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