Author Topic: Debating The Future of Cities, and Urban Density, After the Pandemic  (Read 4855 times)

Ken_FSU

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Interesting collection of viewpoints on how the ongoing pandemic might (or might not) reshape cities.

Links to each article are available on the site below:

https://www.planetizen.com/blogs/108814-debating-future-cities-and-urban-density-after-pandemic

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Debating the Future of Cities, and Urban Density, After the Pandemic

Numerous writers and experts are already examining the question about what happens to ideas about urbanism in a future forever altered by recent events.

Questions about the future are obviously on everyone’s mind as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps the globe, shutting down cities and states across the United States after months of warnings about the risk from Asia and Europe, and models of both success and failure in containing the spread of the coronavirus. Confined to the relatively small spaces of homes and apartments, surrounded by immense cities and regions, questions about whether living arrangements and development patterns are resilient and safe enough take on new meaning during a pandemic, and new anxieties.

As news continues to break and the situation continues to change, the media will continue to debate the lessons of the pandemic, including ideas about urbanism. Some of the leading voices in urbanism, planning, and design media are already attempting to reconfigure a vision for the future of cities, now that the coronavirus has revealed so much about the ways we live.

For those who are ready to also ponder these questions, here is a roundup of articles—of varying levels of optimism, speculation, and “newsiness”—on the changes that are already underway in cities, and what we can expect when the pandemic is over.

"Pandemics Are Also an Urban Planning Problem" (CityLab, March 6)
"Coronavirus outbreak's silver lining for climate crisis likely to fade" (The Japan Times, March 12)
"Are Suburbs Safer From Coronavirus? Probably Not." (CityLab, March 13)
"Social distancing revives America's suburban instincts" (The Boston Globe, March 16)
"Why Chicago and other cities are vulnerable to the virus: Their strength is their weakness" (Chicago Tribune, March 17)
"Why Norway Is Banning its Residents From Their Own Vacation Homes" (CityLab, March 17)
"Can City Life Survive Coronavirus?" (New York Times, March 17)
"Philadelphia has endured plagues before. It adapted and became a better place." (Philadelphia Inquirer, March 18)
"Building a future in a corona paralysis" (CNU Public Square, March 18)
"COVID-19 may sport the thinnest silver lining: a cleaner climate" (Smart Cities Dive, March 19)
"The new coronavirus economy: A gigantic experiment reshaping how we work and live" (The Washington Post, March 21)
"Will coronavirus spur a traffic-solving remote-work revolution? Don’t count on it" (Mercury News, March 22)

These kinds of questions serve as context for massive challenges facing communities as the worst effects of the pandemic start to show in hospitals and unemployment numbers over the coming days and weeks, but the connections between the traditional role of planning and the future of planning to the sustainability of public health and prosperity are obvious now, more than ever. Planners will be essential in the hard work of answering questions about the public realm, mobility, social isolation, and local and regional leadership. Now, soon, and for the long-term.

JaxJersey-licious

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Re: Debating The Future of Cities, and Urban Density, After the Pandemic
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2020, 07:02:23 PM »
I hope everyone back in Florida is staying safe and smart and taking all necessary precautions there but I cant help but think of the long term effects on downtown development going forward because of the perceptions of the virus spreading more rapidly in denser settings. I understand that bad perceptions can be shattered by the market such as a the perception that downtown is unsafe or undesirable or that there is nothing to do after 6. Once this pandemic dies down significantly I'm sure that dense areas incubating diseases mindset would tap down but what will this mean to developing downtown's like Jacksonville doesn't have the population or establishments or nightlife other cities  CBDs have been developing?  Even with jobs coming back downtown would the after effects of the virus put a stop in developing residential units or will they ask for greater incentives and tax rebates from the city to start any new significant projects?

bl8jaxnative

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Re: Debating The Future of Cities, and Urban Density, After the Pandemic
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2020, 10:13:28 AM »

Previous pandemics did not create change.   What reason does a person have to imagine this time it will?

Tacachale

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Re: Debating The Future of Cities, and Urban Density, After the Pandemic
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2020, 11:29:52 AM »

Previous pandemics did not create change.   What reason does a person have to imagine this time it will?

Clearly, previous pandemics did create change. The Yellow Fever epidemics in Florida changed the way cities were designed to improve sanitation, sparked the creation of the state health board, and toppled the sitting government of Jacksonville.
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Snaketoz

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Re: Debating The Future of Cities, and Urban Density, After the Pandemic
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2020, 01:17:40 PM »
Man wasn't designed for "urban density", and pandemics, wars, crime, stress, social strife, and many other problems prove this point.  Urban density is good for commerce I supposed, but life is just better when we aren't all crammed-in like sardines.

Steve

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Re: Debating The Future of Cities, and Urban Density, After the Pandemic
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2020, 01:36:51 PM »

Previous pandemics did not create change.   What reason does a person have to imagine this time it will?

Well, I disagree that previous pandemics didn't create change, but I'll let someone else talk about that.

Plus, until the days of the automobile most people had to be pretty close to the city center as it wasn't practical to live far out. We haven't truly had a pandemic like this in the age of personal transportation (cars for daily commuting were still really new in 1918, plus there was that whole WWI thing going on too)

thelakelander

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Re: Debating The Future of Cities, and Urban Density, After the Pandemic
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2020, 02:50:55 PM »
Man wasn't designed for "urban density", and pandemics, wars, crime, stress, social strife, and many other problems prove this point.  Urban density is good for commerce I supposed, but life is just better when we aren't all crammed-in like sardines.

My guess is we have less urban density in our cities globally today than we had in the centuries before the automobile.
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I-10east

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Re: Debating The Future of Cities, and Urban Density, After the Pandemic
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2020, 07:24:23 PM »
Heavily populated top international cities aren't looking too hot right now.

JaxAvondale

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Re: Debating The Future of Cities, and Urban Density, After the Pandemic
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2020, 08:20:35 PM »
I don’t know how much testing that they have done but Houston is at 325 cases as of this evening.

Florida Power And Light

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Re: Debating The Future of Cities, and Urban Density, After the Pandemic
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2020, 09:26:28 PM »
Likely sustained and growing interest in a home with some included outside soil area..... AKA “ Yard”. Garden, private open space. Rather than a balcony.

tufsu1

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Re: Debating The Future of Cities, and Urban Density, After the Pandemic
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2020, 08:34:48 AM »
Heavily populated top international cities aren't looking too hot right now.

that's not entirely true - Tokyo, Honk Kong, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur don't look too bad. Here in the US yes NYC is a hotbed and Chicago also looks bad...but so do Detroit and New Orleans.

Adam White

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Re: Debating The Future of Cities, and Urban Density, After the Pandemic
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2020, 04:00:45 AM »
Heavily populated top international cities aren't looking too hot right now.

that's not entirely true - Tokyo, Honk Kong, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur don't look too bad. Here in the US yes NYC is a hotbed and Chicago also looks bad...but so do Detroit and New Orleans.

More people in close proximity increases the likelihood of transmission. And big cities tend to have more people traveling in and out of them. But big cities tend to also have the infrastructure required to deal with stuff like this.

It's also worth remembering that this current situation is not the norm.
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tufsu1

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Re: Debating The Future of Cities, and Urban Density, After the Pandemic
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2020, 08:47:57 PM »
^ the facts don't support that density is necessarily a big factor

https://www.cnu.org/publicsquare/2020/03/23/plague-don%E2%80%99t-count-cities-out

Adam White

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Re: Debating The Future of Cities, and Urban Density, After the Pandemic
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2020, 04:18:15 AM »
^ the facts don't support that density is necessarily a big factor

https://www.cnu.org/publicsquare/2020/03/23/plague-don%E2%80%99t-count-cities-out

But people being close to each other does increase the likelihood of transmission. Hence, "social distancing". If a person becomes infected, he has a greater chance of trasmitting the virus to more people if he comes into contact with more people.

The author actually addresses this in the "crowding" part of the piece.

Also, I think he's being a bit arbitrary in separating NYC and Westchester Co. as they are part of the same urban agglomeration. Lots of people who work and shop in NYC live outside of Manhattan and outside of the city.

Overall, I question the scholarship of that article. He's using one metric (infections per capita) to 'disprove' the density theory. But it's early days right now and it would probably be more accurate to observe the rate of infection over time to see how much density plays a factor. If the virus spreads qucker and easier in densely-populated places, then density is likely a factor.

Not sure if I have had this virus, but if I did, I likely got it from my wife. Who likely got it from someone in her office - who likely got it on the train.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2020, 04:34:44 AM by Adam White »
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Non-RedNeck Westsider

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Re: Debating The Future of Cities, and Urban Density, After the Pandemic
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2020, 03:32:21 PM »
But people being close to each other does increase the likelihood of transmission. Hence, "social distancing". If a person becomes infected, he has a greater chance of trasmitting the virus to more people if he comes into contact with more people.

My gf showed me these models based off of cellphone tracking last night.

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https://twitter.com/TectonixGEO/status/1242628347034767361

March 25th - Lower Manhattan epicenter

https://twitter.com/i/status/1243006977594273792

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