Everything has changed in our daily lives, our habits and rhythms have been forced to change to accommodate the restrictions upon us due to Covid 19.
Maximizing the use of outdoor space and having improved mobility, economic recovery and recreation is and will be the goal of urban planners. In order for these changes to happen cities are adding temporary bike lanes, extending sidewalks, closing streets to through traffic, requisitioning public space for outdoor dining and designating zones for curbside pickup.
Executive Director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance Andrew Rigie says “we need to reimagine how we use public space – parks, street and public plazas to set up tables and chairs so restaurants can generate much needed revenue outdoors, because they will likely have reduced occupancy indoors”.
Tactical urbanism, according to urban planner Francesco Cerroni at the consulting engineer and advisory company Buro Happold, is a good temporary solution to the use of space, using different color paint or some cones and markings to separate and define a different use of space at a very low cost. This would serve to designate curbside pickup and delivery and make it easier to create outdoor dining.
These changes are a rapid response to public health concerns over social distancing.
Urban planners now have an opportunity to imagine a different future. Developers are designing the future now because the development timeline is so long, they need to think about what the world could possibly look like in 5 to 10 years.
Laura Fox General Manager of Citi Bike at Lyft says “the shutdown really opened a path to speaking about the need for thinking about mobility and the idea of streets for people”. Streets for people is about a balance of transportation modes such as walking, biking, using more buses, transit or other options. Fox continues to say “people will gravitate to modes best suited to their trip and the streets will reflect those needs.
The world has changed and cities need to adapt.
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