The Coronavirus crisis: What will the post-pandemic city look like?

Author Michael Batty

This editorial by Michael Batty (2020) discusses impacts of COVID-19 on cities and how restrictions influencing people’s behaviours may permanently change the dynamics of cities and remain the norm even after the pandemic has ended.

Date added 11 June 2021
Last updated 11 June 2021

*This resource is about impact of COVID-19 on cities. It is not specifically about the High Street, but has been included in response to requests for more studies/information about this topic, as well as linking to liveable, functionality and adaptability priorities for High Street vitality and viability*.

This editorial by Michael Batty (2020) discusses impacts of COVID-19 on cities and how restrictions influencing people’s behaviours may permanently change the dynamics of cities and remain the norm even after the pandemic has ended. For example, social distancing has been ingrained in people over the course of several lockdowns and may prompt people to prefer travelling by private vehicles instead of public transport. Another example is how people started working remotely / from home. These factors, Batty argues, may reinforce the old post WW2 ideas of decentralising activities away from the city.

Batty continues to discuss the broader casualties of the COVID-19 crisis in terms of air travel and tourism. As we have adapted to online conferences and meetings during lockdowns, people may reconsider travelling far distances for these events when a virtual option is available. In terms of tourism, many people’s personal finances have been heavily impacted by the pandemic and may not be able to afford holidays until the economy has been rebuilt. This includes leisure activities and the significant impact experienced by the hospitality sector.

The editorial also raises that globalisation is likely to change in terms of bringing back production of various products onshore as demand for supplies used in for example health care has not been met locally due to disruptions of offshore supply chains. Batty then further speculates in what the new normal will look like but has no doubt that there will be one. However, he points out that rebuilding the economy is a critical issue that should be in focus.