Strategists and futurists, James Tuma and Kate Meyrick predict some significant changes from the economic disruption caused by coronavirus.
Our cities are where COVID-19 will promote the most profound social and spatial changes with short and long-term shifts in how we live, work, study, entertain ourselves and consume goods and experiences.
It’s time to think beyond the immediate future and consider what the new normal could look like: what kind of urban society and what kind of cities do we want to be part of and live in?
There will be private funding of commercial space as more of the workforce finds they can work very productively from home. This decentralisation will have a reasonable short-term impact on the levels of vitality that city centres have historically enjoyed, which may take a decade to resolve. This could lead to a renaissance of local centres and the resumption of lifestyles and livelihoods that orient around the neighbourhood.
The economic shift intensifies towards knowledge and advanced professional services, but there is also a move to reinforce the resilience of domestic supply chains with more on-shoring and growth in advanced manufacturing and food production.
The neighbourhood or polycentric model will privilege walkability and urban active transport models while reducing the need for road infrastructure. Investment will be channelled into local streets and a fine mesh of public transport options that facilitate local trips.