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How will Covid-19 change our cities?

Most of humanity now lives in dense, urban settings. Is it time to re-think city life?

So far, people in cities have borne the brunt of Covid-19. Coronavirus thrives when humans interact in shared spaces where infections are easily transmitted. Because of this, many column inches have been dedicated to predicting the demise of urban living and a revival of suburbs, towns and villages. But the fact remains the majority of us live in urban settings and people will need to keep seeking out the economic and social opportunities that cities provide. So, if cities are here to stay, how will coronavirus change them? Some aspects of city living that came in for criticism before the virus now seem unviable. Urban density was already a problem with so much cramped and scarce housing. Now, for many, it’s intolerable. Long commutes on dirty, crowded public transport will no longer do. Cars, roads and parking lots claiming vast outdoor areas no longer makes sense if we are to spend more time outdoors. And, in developing world cities, how much longer can poor sanitation and lack of running water be ignored when neglecting basic infrastructure will likely lead to new deadly outbreaks? Policy makers have, in the past, flirted with tackling the big problems in cities - but these problems haven’t gone away. So in the end, will the pandemic force drastic changes to urban design? Ritula Shah is joined by a panel of expert guests.

Available now

53 minutes

Last on

Sat 27 Jun 2020 03:06GMT


Edward Glaeser - Professor of Economics at Harvard University and author of the book 'Triumph of the City: How Urban Spaces Make Us Human'

Dr Vaidehi Tandel - Urban Economist and Junior Fellow at IDFC Institute in Mumbai, India

Astrid Haas - Policy Director and Head of the 'Cities that Work Initiative' at the International Growth Centre. She's based in Kampala, Uganda

Matthew Carmona - Professor of Planning and Urban Design at University College London


A policeman controls the traffic as passengers travel in a bus called "Car Rapide", amid the outbreak of Covid-19 in Dakar, Senegal, Reuters/Zohra Bensemra


  • Fri 26 Jun 2020 09:06GMT
  • Fri 26 Jun 2020 23:06GMT
  • Sat 27 Jun 2020 03:06GMT

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