Healing Cities: How the Coronavirus Pandemic Could Change Urban Design


Can we design cities that heal? We talk to an architect and an urban planner about how to change the physical world for better human health.


Michael Murphy, Principal Founder and Executive Director of MASS Design Group, an architecture and design firm. (@MASSDesignLab)

Ken Greenberg, Director of Greenberg Consultants. Former Director of Urban Design and Architecture for the City of Toronto. (@KGreenbergTO)

Graphic: “Improving Health by Design in the Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area”

(Source: Region of Peel Health by Design / Page 18)

Read the full report here.

From Reading List

World Bank Blogs: “The response of a functional city to the COVID-19 pandemic” — “Cities are currently being tested by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. At the same time health crisis, social crisis and economic crisis , COVID-19 shows how well cities are planned and managed. Its impact shows how well each city is able to function – or not – especially in times of crisis.”

boston globe: “The role of architecture in the fight against a pandemic” — “When an epidemic of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis appeared in Tugela Ferry, South Africa, in 2006, it was a building that deserved some of the blame. “

Architecture file: “Pandemic Shifts Profession’s Focus to Health Care” — “Over the past few months, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended almost every aspect of daily life, infecting millions of people around the world, including hundreds of thousands have Many players in the architecture, engineering and construction industry have focused on the rapid delivery of health care facilities, to treat the sick and try to prevent the spread of the pandemic , and much of that work has been focused on hot coronavirus places like New York.”

Architect magazine: “MASS in Context” — “Ask anyone who works at MASS Design Group how they joined the nonprofit design firm based in Boston and Kigali, Rwanda, and you’ll hear stories of dissatisfaction with the Architectural Establishment and the Search for a Deeper Purpose Take junior associate Bethel Abate, who, sitting in MASS’s boardroom overlooking Boston Common, offers a politely devastating dismantling of American architectural education.

Ken Greenberg Diary: “Covid-19 Reflections” — “In this moment of crisis, we are witnessing remarkable examples of turning on a dime, coming together to make the impossible possible, allowing us to try new things and experiment Can we capitalize on this momentum when the peak passes and we focus on renewing our cities?

Daily business news: “Public health experts should be at the urban design table: consultant” — “Dense cities are not Petri dishes that spread the coronavirus, but the pandemic is an opportunity to rethink design models and planning for cities to better prepare for future crises.”

Los Angeles Times: “Commentary: Past pandemics have changed the design of cities. Six ways COVID-19 could do the same” — “While pandemics have long been a tragic blight on our cities, they have also forced architecture and l urban planning to evolve. The Bubonic Plague, which wiped out at least a third of Europe’s population in the 14th century, helped inspire the sweeping urban improvements of the Renaissance. Cities cleaned up squalid and cramped living quarters, expanded their borders, developed the first quarantine facilities, opened up larger, less congested cities, deployed public and professional spaces with specialist expertise, from surveyors to architects.”

NPR: “Opinion: Redesigning The COVID-19 City” — “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world’s bustling cities to a screeching halt. The outbreak has revealed how urban centers are the first and last line of defense against infectious disease outbreaks. They are also key to leading national and global recovery.”


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