Wheels of change: city maps are being redrawn for life after the ...


Wheels of change: city maps are being redrawn for life after the pandemic

Town planners are taking a whole new route, with visions of closed streets and major redesigns, sans cars

Olivia Rudgard and Matthew Field

There are many things we still don’t know about the Covid-19 virus. One is exactly how it spreads. But a consensus has emerged that outdoor spaces are safer than indoors. The worst possible environment is an enclosed, crowded one, perhaps with air conditioning or a fan. Far better to be outside, where wind and sun reduce the risk of transmission, and there is more space for people to be 2m apart.

Coronavirus has triggered sweeping changes to the way we live, travel and work. The implications for big cities like London, New York and Paris are profound and policymakers are scrambling to understand how to respond while preventing an exodus of the businesses and people that are their lifeblood.

The biggest question is how to create enough space for people to safely walk, sit and eventually eat and drink outdoors. More than ever, pedestrians are jostling for space on overcrowded pavements while roads lie empty...

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