The Pandemic Does Not Spell the End for Cities

By Jennifer Keesmaat

On May 28th, 2020, Jennifer Keesmaat’s article The Pandemic Does Not Spell the End for Cities was released, touching on density myths and how urban planners can use the lessons we’ve learnt from this global shift. Below is an excerpt from that paper.

Cities will remain vibrant and dynamic centers of economic and cultural activity. The density that supposedly made them vulnerable to the pandemic does not have the be their undoing. City planners just need to take a lesson from this experience and work to make cities dense in the right ways: by avoiding overcrowding, minimizing car use, and building inclusive communities with affordable housing. When the pandemic is long gone, density and good urban planning will continue to deliver on the great promises of the city in the twenty-first century.

Keesmaat’s paper goes on to suggest that it is not population that is the cause of wide-spread infection rates, but the responses to the virus by those in positions of power and leadership. “Rates of infection have more to do with factors such as public health preparedness than with he sheer number of people per square kilometer.” Adding “Density should not be confused with ‘overcrowding,’ which is neither inherently nor solely an urban condition. Overcrowding can happen in all kinds of contexts—say in prisons, meat packing plants, and senior centers—regardless of geographic location.”

You can find Jennifer Keesmaat’s full article HERE.