This pandemic has brought many questions in mind such as “what will cafes look like in the future? How will social interaction change in the aftermath of this pandemic? How will urban spaces change?” This pandemic has brought visions on how to utilize and convert these public spaces. We must take this time to reevaluate our communities and its design. Were these communities designed for the people? If anything, we can see it with more clarity that these cities have been built inequitably. Black and Latino residents have been affected by this pandemic more so because of the living conditions that these communities find themselves in such as overcrowding. To prepare for situations like these, we must, “insist on dismantling the racial, economic, and environmental inequities that have made the pandemic deadlier for low-income and nonwhite residents” (Curbed, Coronavirus is not Fuel for Your Urbanist Fantasies).
In some cities, streets have been closed for cars and have become more accessible to pedestrians. In other cities, parking lots have been converted into cafes and restaurants. Cities, such as Oakland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles have launched a slow streets pilot program that limits through traffic in certain residential streets and allows there to be more on foot or bicycle traffic. This encourages more walkers to roam the streets while maintaining a safe distance from each other. Other ways that urban spaces have changed due to the pandemic has been the conversion of parking lots into an extension of cafes and restaurants. What we should consider is how to make public space safer for essential workers. How can we design grocery stores where it would be safer to shop in? How can we make transportation systems accessible, both economically and environmentally? As urban planners, designers, architects, engineers, and as community members we must work together to build equitable communities.
Walker, Alissa. “Coronavirus Is Not Fuel for Your Urbanist Fantasies.” Google, Google, 20 May 2020, www.google.com/amp/s/www.curbed.com/platform/amp/2020/5/20/21263319/coronavirus-future-city-urban-covid-19.
Wigglesworth, Alex. “Institutional Racism, Inequity Fuel High Minority Death Toll from Coronavirus, L.A. Officials Say.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 11 May 2020, www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-05-11/institutional-racism-inequity-high-minority-death-toll-coronavirus.