How the Covid Crisis Could Make or Break Cities

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For all the suffering Covid-19 has caused, especially in cities, life under lockdown has yielded at least one unexpected victory for urbanists. With a third of the world’s population quarantined, car traffic—the scourge of safe streets advocates everywhere—has thinned to a trickle.

Not only are people driving less, but in cities from Bogota to Berlin, transit planners are racing to open formerly car-clogged streets to pedestrians and cyclists in an effort to improve social distancing. 

As urbanism and design writer Allison Arieff noted in a recent New York Times op-ed, the coronavirus pandemic offers a rare chance “to see our cities for the first time without the choking traffic, dirty air and honking horns that have so often made them intolerable.”

Is this the beginning of a new era in urban planning, in which the automobile is at last usurped from center stage? And what role will design play in protecting against this and future pandemics? 

Arieff and Curbed editor Alissa Walker will join the next Triple M webinar on Friday, May 8th at 9am PT / 12pm ET to discuss what cities will look like after the Covid-19 reset.

Become a member of Triple M, free for 30 days, to join the webinar live or download a recording after.

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