A collection of notable articles that describe how urban planning influences and is being influenced by the spread of and response to COVID-19.
TIME explains the repercussions of COVID-19 being declared a pandemic.
“the WHO defines a pandemic as global spread of a new disease, though the specific threshold for meeting that criteria is fuzzy“
“This is not just a public health crisis, it is a crisis that will touch every sector,”
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This article from Citylab features Professor Michele Acuto of the University of Melbourne.
“Bubbling up are some core questions about what we’ve been told is desirable urbanization versus what makes sense from an infectious disease perspective.”
“Modern planning and civil engineering were born out of the mid-19th century development of sanitation in response to the spread of malaria and cholera in cities. Digital infrastructure might be the sanitation of our time”
Vox shows various landmarks in the world empty, as a result of COVID-19 mobilization by numerous global cities. Included are photos of the Louvre in Paris, the city of Daegu, and New York City.
“The social and economic costs of the outbreak have been immense and will only grow larger.”
Working from home became a forced option for many companies and employees to adapt to the COVID-19 episode, as BBC reports.
“Although Chinese work culture might be more conservative, in technological terms it is well set up for working from home...”
“working from home would help employers hit by sky-high office rental rates and employees suffering from long commutes“
“Chinese workers have had mixed reactions to the experiment…some are distracted by family members or find it difficult to focus, while others are embracing the experience, enjoying improved productivity“
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Toby Lincoln of The Conversation explains how China’s historical governance system has allowed lockdowns to be a “shared experience” rather than “something that has been imposed.”
“Cities in other countries do not have a political culture that would allow them to replicate what China has done, or the same governance structures. “
On March 17, 2020, Luzon, the biggest island of the Philippines, was placed on “enhanced community quarantine,“ a controversial strategy for containing the spread of the coronavirus disease. as Rappler describes.
“The lockdown, described by government officials as an “enhanced community quarantine,” will set in motion efforts to limit the movement of people going in and out of the island region, home to at least 57 million.“
“Transparency and honesty are key…It’s important people are always kept up to date with the current situation and developments.“
Rina Chandran explains how wealth inequality in cities translate to unequal distribution of risks in the spread of diseases.
“More than density, what facilitates the spread of diseases in cities is human behavior. You can have a neighborhood of low density, but if no one picks up their waste that could lead to a dengue outbreak,“
“…our urban institutions should function such that the economic benefits of cities, and the value created, are more equitably shared.”
Laignee Barron outlines the contributors to the success of Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan in “keeping their virus numbers low despite their links to China.”
They acted quickly, conducted rigorous detection and strict quarantine measures, executed physical distancing and banned mass gatherings, and communicated effectively.
“Epidemic preparedness starts years before an outbreak”
“It’s one of the most beautiful pieces of risk communication I have ever seen,”
Andrew Nikiforuk demonstrates how the “many ropes of globalization” contributed to the spread of COVID-19.”
“COVID-19 is but a modest emergency compared to what’s coming in our crowded, mobile, just-in-time delivered era of hyper-globalization.”
“Even social distancing, which is rightly encouraged to slow down the spread of the coronavirus, is a class issue.“
“The lockdown, so far, has not grasped the concepts of movement and space, which are fundamentals in how urban areas function.“
Christiana Figueres enumerates five lessons from the global response to the coronavirus pandemic that are crucial to be remembered in the continuing climate action.
“We have seen over the past few weeks that governments can take radical action and we can change our behaviour quite quickly.“
“Governments and financial leaders are already considering recovery packages for an economy so badly hit by the virus. Surprisingly, these decisions will be the most important decision on climate change.“
Michael Naka explores the “shift in how we get around” in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
“In all [disaster] scenarios, flexible and human-scale transportation options are necessary to preserve mobility and access to needed services and goods…”
The Commission for the Human Future enumerates 10 potentially catastrophic risks to human survival.
“The risks emerging now are varied, global and complex…the risks are interconnected…”
“We should make decisions today that acknowledge the future…”
The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy proposes growing cycling, and four other city policies that should be made permanent post-COVID-19.
“In this unfortunate circumstance, transport advocates see an opportunity for organic “pilot” projects.”
“A people-centered focus...is the best defense we have [against changes in future cities].”
Parag Khanna and Kailash Prasad, writing for Politico, contemplate the impacts of the pandemic on where people will live.
“The world population has temporarily reset according to nationality or country of residence.“
“.Migration has numerous fundamental drivers that have profoundly remapped the human population...[the coronavirus] could trigger [the] next migration tides…”
Neha Rai and Ritu Bharadwaj, from the International Institute for Environment and Development, recommends ways on how climate action funds can learn from COVID-19 response.
“…COVID-19 relief packages were simple and flexible…Climate finance, on the other hand, is becoming increasingly complex...”
” the responses [for climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic] share the same challenge: getting finance quickly and effectively to those who are in greatest need and exposed to multiple risks.”
Surprising study: Urban density doesn’t cause more COVID-19 infections, even promotes lower death rates
Study Finds features the paper of Hamidi et al. on the impact of density on the current COVID-19 pandemic. Hamidi et al. conducted modeling in U.S. metropolitan counties. Quotes are from the Study Finds article.
“…higher coronavirus infection and death rates seem to be linked to a metropolitan area’s size, not its density.”
“…doubling the activity density of a given area would result in a 11.3% reduction in coronavirus deaths..”
Emma Grey Ellis, from Wired, highlights the role of managing peri-urban areas in preventing future pandemics.
“We don’t need a solution; we need to have a process that’s much more open and inclusive and will center the people who have been marginalized.“ – Jason Corburn
“If the cost of inaction is another pandemic, prevention is worth the price.” – Jason Corburn
Send me links to articles about COVID-19 and urban planning!
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