This time of quarantine shows you can never adequately predict the future or where it will take you. Last week there were two excellent webinars hosted by Urban Logiq and Boston University’s School of Public Health looking at planning and social issues related to Covid-19. What these informed discussions provided was a guide to the new normal, and some measured predictions on the post Covid-19 city.
Director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University Andy Yan spoke in the Urban Logiq discussion. Andy sees the biggest change in the emergence of regular life is going to be spatial, with a “revitalization of localization” in a new interest in neighbourhoods.
“New urbanism” including the concept of all shops and services within a 15 to 20 minute walk/bike commute is not going to happen because it is the right thing to do, but because people have experienced the importance of those aspects in their neighbourhoods during the pandemic. This brings up the importance of municipal land use allowing for neighbourhood “corner store” retailing, for local grocery stores serving the immediate neighbourhood area.
Calling the current time the Covid “end of the beginning” Andy’s prediction is the Post-Covid city will influence spatial design and city use for “years and decades”. The “key to recovery” is increasing biomedical security. But think of it~who ever imagined biomedical safety would be a driver in how we think of and use cities?
Here are some main trends~redefining the working neighbourhood; reimagining seniors care as aging in place; new neighbourhood based vocations; new management styles; and a renewed interest in working from home.
Andy Yan perceives “the internet of neighbourhoods” as being a key driver in post-covid times, changing the paradigm of place from city focus to this finer level. This “revitalization of localism” addresses the vulnerability and fragility of the city in crisis, by creating smaller scale areas of independence and self reliance.
.The care model for seniors needs to be seriously rethought and I have written before about an Ipsos study that shows that 93 percent of homeowners over 65 intend to remain in their current homes. The Covid crisis in care homes, and the isolation experienced by seniors walled in during the pandemic is another factor making staying put more appealing.
And look for new work directions too. New skill sets will be in demand, including neighbourhood level nursing and health care, detail oriented grocery store stockists and delivery, and the importance of the “caring’ economy, taking care of the most vulnerable, the very young and the very old.
The gentle but consistent management style demonstrated by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the Province’s Medical Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry signal a change in management style from dictatorial to one that inspires and influences. This style also emphasizes the importance of working in teams and in groups to accomplish tasks.
We’ve also done a pretty good job of adapting to working from home too, and that will be part of the shift of the post-covid city. I previously have written about Mario Canseco’s survey showing that 73% of Canadians expect to continue to work from home. Sixty-three percent think that more companies will be nixing business travel and promoting more online teleconferencing.
Andy Yan did use one of his “Yanisms” in describing the new lifelong learning education needed in the post-covid city as “not creating a wood axe, but having the nimbleness and flexibility of a swiss army knife”.
Continue reading “The Post~Covid City With Duke of Data Andy Yan”