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The Magic of Empty Streets

Photo by Sergio Ruiz

This week, SPUR's Allison Arieff published an editorial in The New York Times on the opportunity COVID-19 presents to fix our cities.


"The realities of the coronavirus crisis demand new solutions. We are going to have to figure out how to reopen our cities — schools, offices, stores, restaurants, public space and public transit. Any space where large (or even small) numbers of people gather will require health interventions from hand-sanitizing stations to mask distribution to reduced seating capacities.

Indeed, health and safety concerns may supersede all others for a long time to come. What MASS Design Group is doing in response is a great model. It is making design criteria for the construction of temporary treatment facilities and emergency shelter available to the public. And it is developing a series of guides that will include tips for homeowners, builders and designers on how to retrofit spaces for airborne-infection control, including strategies for emergency shelters.

Ultimately, what we really need to figure out is how the world gets put back together. Our new COVID-19 reality shows that behavior can change. It is also, however, making it glaringly apparent how poorly existing systems (and places) have been working for most. Time and tragedy create opportunity — in this case an opportunity to make them work for all."


Read the complete editorial