A lot is said about the fact that “the coronavirus will forever change the world”, and this sounds like something apocalyptic. But it is not necessary to perceive it that way. In fact, a lot of that “changes the world forever,” and the current pandemic, no doubt, will also do the trick. However, the changes that it entails, may not be “original” and their likelihood always existed.
One of the factors due to which around us there were quite rapid changes in the last, say, ten years, is our General, tend to average all the aversion to it. People usually prefer routine and experiencing a lot of stress when they have to change something, even in small things. This resistance to change, which can create serious problems in today’s economy have long been trying to overcome, including through education. From childhood people are taught that they must “make changes”, use them, be ready to change, to adapt, and a lifetime to devote to “learning” (which is another name for “change”).
Someone made my profession understanding of this contradiction, but one way or another to persuade people to change is not so easy. Yes, if the change is perceived as a kind of entertainment, then it is not difficult and this is why today we all have smartphones (although they some resisted). But how to get someone to make some radical changes in their own work? It will be difficult. And so this problem takes on the current “pandemic”.
We could make a long list of small changes that have already occurred and that will only occur under the influence of the current crisis, but most of them can be attributed to one category — online.
Many things have already been gradually transferred to the virtual space, but after coronavirus strike online everything suddenly seemed. More recently, Internet selling was focused mainly on those things, like electronics that are impossible to buy in the local market, and brought the “Amazon”, “Aliexpress” and other giants in this field. But it’s only been a few months, and online you can order everything: food, drinks, kitchen utensils and much more. During isolation it was often the only way to buy something. Many for the first time made online purchase and delivery service have multiplied with great speed to meet the increased demand for services. Now the virus is retreating, at least in Europe, but some new habits are already entrenched, change happened, and in this case, as a rule, there is no way back.
This growth of online trading we probably would have waited many more years, and this long period was reduced to just a few months.
But is this “big change, after which the world will never be the same”? Maybe at first glance does not say, but the way it is. Why? Because the explosion of online sales is only the tip of the iceberg, “event”, which entails many other consequences. And these consequences will be comprehensive.
Let’s forget the products and go to services. During months of isolation to millions of people kept saying, “If you can work at home”, millions have done so. Someone was able to easily adjust if they are already used to a similar schedule previously appeared in the office a couple times a week, and the rest worked at home. For someone working at home became stressful. For example, teachers who for many years refused the online format of education, and now they had in the blink of an eye to translate learning online. In private schools and universities online learning practice for several years, but in state educational institutions is still new. However, as hard as it had teachers, they have adapted to change. And the kids have adapted. To change adapted all.
This does not mean that the changes they like. But change happened, they are already here, and now they will have to be considered. Thousands of companies around the world were thinking best whether they will be employees working online from home for which you will not need offices, buildings, company cars… But unless the company could not make these changes before? They made them, but slowly, like someone, and there were those who does not hurry to change something. Now everything was in a situation where “you want me to fit in, and you want to close”.
We talked about the online stores, online work. What else? The main thing — changes in the physical space. What can cause a combination of available online products and services, as well as work in online mode? Mass internal migration. Where? From the cities… somewhere.
Why do people go in town? To enjoy modern theatres and museums? Perhaps someone, Yes, but there is not enough. Most go to the cities for work (or education, which will then be able to find a job). Now all the circumstances were against this relentless and necessary concept of urbanization. If education and work are no longer necessarily associated with cities that will attract people there?
This process began even before the current pandemic. For several years, at least in developed countries, people are gradually moving from the cities to safer places. Where? Not necessarily “in the deep woods”, but out of the shadows of the skyscrapers and endless concrete. In small towns, villages, outlying suburbs…
The city is losing appeal for several reasons. The main factor is changes in the labour market, but he’s not the only one. For many young people the city has become prohibitively expensive. The prices of apartments and rent in urban centres is “overblown,” and absolutely inadequate, because the new owner/tenant fail to dramatically raise their income only because of the place of residence in the center. But, changing it, people can significantly improve your budget.
In America three of the largest metropolis: new York, Los Angeles and Chicago are losing population for several years. Some smaller cities, such as Miami, Houston, Washington, continue to grow, but slowly, and only a matter of time when it, too, will win a reverse trend. Over the last ten years, according to demographer William Frey of the Brookings institution, the growth of large cities has slowed by half.
Who leaves the city? The older generation and a generation that just “replaces” that is “Millennials” (those born from 1981 to 1996). For them less work, and increasingly they have to face the fact that constant work is a myth, which may have lived with their parents, but they’re not.
And then came the coronavirus
All immediately realized that densely populated city is not the place where they want to live. The virus spreads instantly, and the situation there will be the most severe in the case of aggravation of the situation (e.g., lack of food), and measures in the cities are the most strict… And people immediately ran from the cities. Wealthy citizens, which was where to go, did so. Some of them returned after the epidemic has subsided, while others are not. Those who were able to organize work and family life outside the city, probably, will never return.
Does this mean the end of cities? With almost complete certainty one can say that no. However, apparently, cities as we know them will change forever. The city as it once was, no longer exists. From the cities our ancestors have left some memories. Now we are on the verge of another big change, and maybe change the whole paradigm. She is already changing for some time. To live “out of town” not so long ago meant to be a “farmer” to live on the land, deal with land and nothing else. Today, many young intellectuals leave the village, work the land and in parallel doing his difficult job thanks to technology and the Internet. The village is no longer contempt, and life on earth is no longer “heavy”, unlike life and survival in cities. They now run, and the virus only accelerates these processes.
In everyday life we don’t think about it, but the appearance of cities, their design and architecture is largely “created” that previous pandemics! Extensive green areas, wide boulevards — all this appeared in cities only after the cholera in the nineteenth century, and other epidemics.
Only one new York, for example, “must” cholera his modern parks, and many others. Once people around the world living in the center cities, kept cattle. After cholera, for example, in new York city were forbidden to raise pigs in the city center. Another big “change” that might have happened would be, but would require more time…
Sunlight, clean air that is essential for health always, not to mention the period of the pandemic.
Covid-19 will change the architecture, the appearance of the houses, the town squares… Meeting in open spaces safer than meeting in the premises, and it also will change the city. Urban area may be even more, even greener. Some streets may be completely closed to vehicular traffic, leaving them for pedestrians.
Of course, the speed of change will largely depend on how to develop the current pandemic, especially coming in the fall.
No, city will not disappear, but cities, as we knew them, no longer be. Pandemic has always changed the face of cities and provoked the flight of them. Then the population came back, just had to go back for work. Now this is not necessary, at least for many. Therefore, we will see the city of the future, perhaps much sooner than expected. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, and moreover, if the emphasis will be on protecting the health of citizens, the post-pandemic city can become a more favorable place to live, at least for those who decide to stay in it.