Ways the Pandemic is Reshaping Urban Design

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Robison Wells
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Even though reports of promising vaccines have emerged in recent weeks and there finally seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel, many people look at the future through a very different lens than they did before Covid-19 hit in March. The ways that people want to live and work are changing in significant ways.

One of the most straightforward ways things are changing is that more people expect to be working from home in the future, regardless of the vaccine. According to Deloitte's survey, 61% of workers want to work from home more than they did pre-pandemic. The first ways that architecture will change are in more home office space and less traditional office construction—or at least different office construction. Many architects have proposed variable areas that can be used for several purposes, not exclusively for offices.

Another way that urban design may be changing is in the housing of the homeless. In response to the pandemic, 15,000 homeless in London were put into emergency hotels, and medical professionals estimate that the move saved the lives of more than 250 of them. One possible proposal for the future is modular housing that can rapidly and safely house the homeless or other at-risk groups who need temporary accommodation.

Other designs include contactless elevators, walkways that allow for social distancing, and other things to prevent virus spread. One development already underway in Seattle consists of a high rise with garden squares in the center of every floor and apartments lining the outside. This gives open-air access to each floor, as well as keeps the residents apart.

Whichever way the pandemic changes the future of architecture, one thing is sure: it will not look the same.

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