Cities will need to focus on four key areas in mitigating the effects of future pandemics: urban mobility, urban design, the built environment and supply chains. Each aspect has been called into question during Coronavirus (COVID-19) with extensive changes needed if cities are to become more virus proof in the future. The report takes a deeper dive into adaptations cities should make post-COVID-19 and some of the permanent changes that may follow suit.
Cities have historically been subject to numerous health crises. COVID-19 presents an opportunity for cities to implement new and innovative measures in response to future epidemics and pandemics.
With public transport becoming less popular, cities need to direct greater resources into pedestrianising and making urban areas more accessible to bicycles. Some cities have actively deployed pop-up bicycle lanes, while others have banned car travel to increase the space for walking.
Cities should not focus on maximising population density. Instead, cities should build with nature in mind by providing citizens with easy access to green spaces for recreational and therapeutic purposes.
Buildings should focus on investing in health screening technologies such as thermal imaging cameras at points of entry. Some cities are mandating the use of such devices in malls, restaurants and other public amenity buildings.
Due to highly intertwined supply chains, cities need to become more self-sufficient in the production of essential goods. For example, vertical farming has grown in popularity during the pandemic, as it brings food production closer to its consumers.
The long run will see cities change considerably in terms of mobility, buildings, urban design and supply chains. For example, more people working remotely could reduce demand for consumer mobility and could in turn advance growth in e-commerce. This could spur the rapid development of autonomous deliveries which have been put to practice in some markets during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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