Pandemic Will Shape the Future of Construction in Los Angeles

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Robison Wells
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Los Angeles is facing tough economic times, and the construction and architecture communities are rallying to see how to address the future of the City of Angels. According to architect Karin Liljegren of Omgivning, an architecture, and design firm, Covid-19 has exposed many deep-rooted problems in Southern California. Among them, the health crisis, the climate crisis, and the racial crisis.

Her firm has put out a proposal that outlines three themes for the rebuilding of the city to address these concerns.

The first is a human-centered design, which aims to bring together group and private spaces using nature and the environment to create areas that are useful and comfortable.

The second is a flexible design. One thing that Omgivning noticed about the recession is how quickly everything can change—from changing expo centers into hospitals and changing parking lots into triage centers. They want to create a new design aesthetic that can shift with changing conditions.

The third is blended-use or spaces that can serve multiple functions. As more people have learned they can work from home; there is an idea that a single office building can house many different businesses doing several other things, with people moving in and out in safe, socially distant ways.

“We have to be thinking about this flexibility and then be resilient if there is another pandemic or there is another natural disaster or another recession,” Liljegren told LA Magazine.

Other blended-use ideas are turning strip malls that have lost tenants into housing centers.

Overall she says that as cities keep becoming denser—and she sees that as an inevitability, COVID or not—they need to have more humanizing elements in them, which includes more green space, more urban farming, and blended workspace.

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