We hope that you are doing as well as can be while we learn to navigate this "new normal. Like many of you, no doubt, we've spent a lot of time these past few weeks grappling withall the ways in which the world has suddenly shifted and trying to make sense of those changes both personally and professionally.
Our work at Urbanism Next has always been focused on researching the impacts of emerging technologies on cities. This work has primarily focused on the disruptions caused by new mobility and e-commerce, but COVID-19 will likely have long-lasting impacts on these technologies and much, much more.
With this in mind, we have been researching the impacts of COVID-19 on transportation, urban design, real estate, land use, and building design, the five topic areas of theUrbanism Next Framework. We will be documenting the here-and-now, but a large focus will be thinking about the early post-crisis (e.g. reopening) and late post-crisis (e.g. recovery) impacts, all from an interdisciplinary perspective.
We'll be sharing updates about the impacts we're seeing, highlighting different topics from week to week, and summarizing our findings on our website. We will also include a few additional articles that stray from our key topics but that we've found to be particularly interesting reads. (And we hope you will, too!)
With best wishes,
The Urbanism Next Team
- Since the onset of the pandemic, transit ridership has fallen substantially, and transit operators are struggling to find the right balance between keeping people moving, especially essential workers, and sufficiently protecting transit workers from the risk of exposure. There are also serious concerns about budget shortfalls with the precipitous drop-off in ridership. To what extent will people return to transit as stay-at-home orders are lifted? Which temporary service changes, if any, will be made permanent?
- TNC ridership has decreased dramatically as a result of COVID-19 and companies like Uber and Lyft have been pivoting to delivery to help fill the gap. Drivers for TNCs have expressed concerns about their safety, and long-term questions about the lack of a safety net for drivers persist. Will ridership pick up again as restrictions are lifted, particularly if some shift away from transit? Will companies like Uber and Lyft, which were not yet profitable before the pandemic, have to raise prices in order to remain viable?
- In the current climate of global travel restrictions and public safety concerns, many micromobility companies have pulled their vehicles off city streets. At the same time, bikeshare ridership has increased significantly in cities such as New York and Chicago and some companies are offering discounts and free trips to essential workers. As cities begin to move again, will micromobility be seen as an essential component of resilient, sustainable transportation networks?
- Under stay-at-home orders, people have changed their use of streets, open space, and buildings. How can cities manage this behavior in the short-term, and create the most beneficial long-term outcomes as we move into less restricted phases of the crisis?
- With the regular patterns of life, work, and play coming to a standstill, many people and businesses are adapting their surroundings in makeshift ways. Some of these modifications will only be temporary, but depending on the severity and duration of this crisis how many of these measures will result in lasting trends in our built environment?
- It's not just your imagination. The reason Zoom calls drain your energy (BBC)
- Are we destined for the superstore? The supermarket after the pandemic (The Atlantic)
- Behold the rise of the contact-free economy. The future is not what it is supposed to be: Thoughts on the shape of the next normal (McKinsey)
- "Without government intervention, there will be no service industry whatsoever."David Chang isn't sure the restaurant industry will survive Covid-19 (New York Times)