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  • Writer's pictureArchitectural Engineering Consultants

How the post-pandemic could change urban planning and design?

Updated: May 3, 2021

As we all adapted to a new world, cities are works in progress. We have an important responsibility to enhance people’s life.

In this context, we need solutions generated through collaborations among disciplines and an alternative design approach to rethink the relation of urbanization to culture, nature and architecture. As designers, we think that our urban environments will not be the same post-pandemic, urban design needs to be readapt as a results that contagion may turn out to be a chronic threat for our communities. Public health policies are too often disconnected with general objectives of strategic urban planning. Healthy urban design can be achieved by adopting an integrate, resourceful, inclusive, flexible and multidisciplinary design approach. We share our emerging notes here below.

URBAN LIFE: Cities and Metropolitan areas are varied in population densities, dynamic, intensity, frequency and character. They diversify from suburbs to concentration of peoples in the city. A vision of urban context represents a complexity of interconnected private and public spaces that provide social interactions, integrating the transport systems in a way that allows a vision for the future of urban mobility. Our cities, small and large, need to be resilient to the shocks and stresses of change. A solution such as streets designed for the safe accommodation of wide modes of transport, supports increased activity at the neighborhood scale and access to civic and economic resources at the citywide scale.

GOOD GOVERNANCE: Public policies, planning authorities and professional practice needs more bound to the practice of urban planning, which means that will require us to play a larger role with our cities to adapt to our new reality. We now have a new opportunity to rethink how we design our urban environment to make more flexible, safe and resilient to accommodate the relation between expanding populations, public health and natural system.

CHANGES: absence of land use planning, habitat destruction and lack of management on the ecosystem by land uses has exposes humans to outbreaks of virus infection. For hazards such as climate change, as designers we need to address rapid urbanization, environmental degradation, flooding, droughts, inadequate healthcare on the current pandemic highlights for future practice and research. Physical distancing and containment have changed the way we’re using our mobility infrastructure, the decision we make will reach far beyond how we get around. As technology infrastructure has allowed some of us to overcome social distancing, the question is whether traditional infrastructure investments such as wider roads or access to digital technology is the most resilient investment for our future. Change is needed and the spread of Covid-19 in the world’s pandemic has already altered urban life.

REDESIGN THE CITY: urban mobility will be affected, mass public transport is not ideal in a pandemic solution. Cities will give more space to cyclings and pedestrians. Bike-sharing and public transportation option may slow down until hygienic practices are operatives. Many people will want to work more flexible and home-based more than before, reduced demand for structured office space environments will impact cities. Biking and walking will be our safest way. Bike lanes should be expanded and some cities are already pedestrianizing crowded streets to promote physical distancing. Access to green spaces is also important for the mental and physical health of city residents. Private and public spaces will be rapidly rethink to accommodate more vertical garden, urban gardens and urban farming to make more space for people to get outside. Our cities may need to became self-sufficient. The post-pandemic urban future is already here.

Please contact us to start a conversation about how our consulting services can support you. Follow Alessandro Mangano for more research and insights.


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