Note — Sep 13, 2020

The Right and Wrong of Cities’ Current Moment

Seen in → No.141

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“Unrolled” thread (so basically an article) by Karl Sharro on the current moment for cities. Not so long ago, cities were the future and touted as the place where everyone was going to live. Cue the pandemic and now people are supposedly leaving cities in droves and they aren’t good for anything. Were they all that then and are they done now? Like most things, it’s a lot more complicated than that. The pre-COVID vision was just one aspect of some cities, not the breadth of experiences and how they were actually lived while the post-panic exaggerates the risks, impact, and how (not) quickly cities can truly change. Sharro asks the important question “what are cities for?”

Cities were upheld as better environmentally, they use less land and limit sprawl, better culturally and socially, they allow for interaction and the arts, even better politically as the fear of the insular suburban mentality became a theme, whereas cities are more diverse. […]

And this not just about how we plan these changes. There will be organic development and trends that can fill any vacuum left by the aftermath of the virus. This is equally true of office space as it is of city districts. Adaptability is key and I feel it’s being neglected now. […]

So there’s an emerging picture of how you can allow for flexible working and redesign your office to be more focused. […]