Greg Lindsay's Blog

March 31, 2020  |  permalink

NewCities: When a Pandemic Goes Viral

image

What a difference a month makes. My March began with a family Spring Break trip to Disneyland – today it ends with our third week in cozy self-quarantine amidst the steadily mounting severity of the global coronavirus pandemic. With my travel grounded for the foreseeable future and NewCities’ events postponed to the fall, my colleagues and I have turned our attention to how cities will emerge stronger from a crisis that calls urban density into question – and have recruited an all-start list of contributors to help.

Titled “When a Pandemic Goes Viral,” this installment of NewCities’ Big Picture series explores the urban implications of the virus:

• Saskia Sassen asks whether cities are at war – not only with the virus but with unmanageable complexity: “We have increasingly lost control over a rapidly growing range of innovations and conditions. We are on the other side of the curve. Most of us, cannot see or understand, or grasp this. But we also know that across the globe –from the people of the Sahel to Minnesota’s farmers—many in the new generations can see what we can no longer recognize. And they are telling us: Enough!”

Richard Sennett warns against the impulse to tighten surveillance to tame the virus and the incentives to either dismiss the threat or panic.“This is a time to fear the opportunity the pandemic offers the ruling powers, to reject the theatre of panic staged in the media, and to affirm the power of civil society in the city.”

• State of Place’s Mariela Alfonzo offers a ten-point plan for citymakers on how to revitalize public space once “social distancing” is over. “Here’s how I think we should regroup, rethink, retool, and rebuild per our roles as citymakers – as those whose job, and purpose, it is to spark joy by creating places people love…not just despite global crises, in spite of them.”

• Eva Hagberg reflects on how the virus has taken the city from us, and rendered architecture almost meaningless in the interim: “And so for the good of our cities, for the faith that urban life will eventually roar back, we are quarantining. We are returning to architecture as its most basic form, a type of shelter that will not protect us from the storm, nor the virus. But it will demarcate something. The time before we cared. The time now.”

You can read the entire series – with new installments daily – right here.

Posted by Greg Lindsay  |  Categories:  |  Comments


About Greg Lindsay

» Folllow me on Twitter.
» Email me.
» See upcoming events.

image
Greg Lindsay is a journalist, urbanist, futurist, and speaker. He is the director of applied research at NewCities and director of strategy at its mobility offshoot CoMotion.  He is also a partner at FutureMap, a geo-strategic advisory firm based in Singapore, a non-resident senior fellow of The Atlantic Council’s Foresight, Strategy, and Risks Initiative, and co-author of Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next.

» More about Greg Lindsay

Blog

May 14, 2020

CoMotion LIVE: Rethinking the Street

May 12, 2020

The Big Rethink: The How, What, and Where of Work

May 06, 2020

The Big Rethink: Beyond Megacities — Rethinking Density

May 06, 2020

CoMotion Podcast: What’s Next for EVs and the UAE

» More blog posts

Articles by Greg Lindsay

Fast Company  |  March 2020

How to design a smart city that’s built on empowerment—not corporate surveillance

URBAN-X  |  December 2019

ZINE 03: BETTER

CityLab  |  December 10, 2018

The State of Play: Connected Mobility in San Francisco, Boston, and Detroit

Harvard Business Review  |  September 24, 2018

Why Companies Are Creating Their Own Coworking Spaces

CityLab  |  July 2018

The State of Play: Connected Mobility + U.S. Cities

Medium  |  May 1, 2017

The Engine Room

Fast Company  |  January 19, 2017

The Collaboration Software That’s Rejuvenating The Young Global Leaders Of Davos

The Guardian  |  January 13, 2017

What If Uber Kills Public Transport Instead of Cars

Backchannel  |  January 4, 2017

The Office of the Future Is…an Office

New Cities Foundation  |  October 2016

Now Arriving: A Connected Mobility Roadmap for Public Transport

Inc.  |  October 2016

Why Every Business Should Start in a Co-Working Space

Popular Mechanics  |  May 11, 2016

Can the World’s Worst Traffic Problem Be Solved?

The New Republic  |  January/February 2016

Hacking The City

Fast Company  |  September 22, 2015

We Spent Two Weeks Wearing Employee Trackers: Here’s What We Learned

Fast Company  |  September 21, 2015

HR Meets Data: How Your Boss Will Monitor You To Create The Quantified Workplace

Inc.  |  March 2015

Which Contacts Should You Keep in Touch With? Let This Software Tell You

Inc.  |  March 2015

5 Global Cities of the Future

Global Solution Networks  |  December 2014

Cities on the Move

Medium  |  November 2014

Engineering Serendipity

New York University  |  October 2014

Sin City vs. SimCity

» See all articles