Kirsty Hammond looks at plans for a post-COVID society

Past pandemics have always led to changes in how we live, in city planning, infrastructure and new advances.

So we are all watching with interest to see what will happen this time round?

As city planners scrabble to find the solution to our unsafe high streets, outdoor spaces and ventilation, it is also feared that disease and contagion may create elitist pockets of self-sufficient living.

People that can afford to insulate themselves from the rest of society with gated communities becoming increasingly sought after with security, private medical facilities and even food production facilities for the privileged few.

This particular pandemic has possibly accelerated our future and given us the opportunity to reshape how we live with regards to climate change and innovation.

In order for us all to survive, to live and prosper we need to evolve.

We are also seeing migration from our cities like never before.

Kirsty Hammond Kirsty Hammond Publisher of Specifier Review

Self-sufficient

A new Covid-proof city is being planned in China for people to live in successfully during future lockdowns.

Spanish architects Guallart have designed the project and all the apartments have been designed with large airy balconies.

The City itself will be self-sufficient with vegetable gardens, greenhouses, solar panels, communal workspaces, a pool, food market, childcare facilities and drone friendly terraces for deliveries.

During the current pandemic we saw a huge increase in cycling, people for the first time in years, left their cars at home, buses and public transport were emptied and we reverted to utilising our surroundings.

Mental health and wellbeing is important and never before has isolation and loneliness posed such a threat.

In the Covid proof city many of the streets will be reserved for pedestrians and cyclists, and there will be lots of greenery and nature will be pivotal.

A circular bioeconomy

The Guallart architect’s said that: "Our proposal stems from the need to provide solutions to the various crises that are taking place in our planet at the same time, in order to create a new urban life based in the circular bioeconomy that will empower cities and communities."

The buildings will have an "internal metabolic system" that will integrate energy production, recycled water, food production, and material reuse to promote sustainability.

This particular architect firm envisages a self-sufficient city where travel is unnecessary, this future city can provide full and sustainable living despite and during a global health crisis.

Current inadequacies

The pandemic that we are all currently living through has highlighted all the inadequacies of our lives, how we travel and work. How our children are educated and essentially our food security.

Amid Covid, many cities such as Amsterdam and Sydney have begun to improve urban sustainability.

New technologies are being implemented, cycle lanes and green areas have reclaimed the roads. Socially distanced spaces have opened up all around the world. Office spaces are being abandoned and people are working from home.

We are also seeing migration from our cities like never before.

Our concerns surrounding Covid are continually entwined with the climate crisis, the need for fresh air and green spaces has never been more important.

Energy self-sufficiency and the reduction of carbon emitting living gives us an opportunity to promote a different life mainly focused on ecology.

"We cannot continue designing cities and buildings as if nothing had happened," ends Guallart.

Kirsty Hammond is publisher of Specifier Review