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Special Issue "Pandemic and the City: Urban Issues in the Context of COVID-19"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Geography and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 June 2022) | Viewed by 10131

Special Issue Editor

Prof. John Rennie Short
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Public Policy, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA
Interests: pandemic; COVID-19; new urban forms; cities; viral cities
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The impact of COVID-19 is immense. This special issue seeks to generate discussion on its urban impacts. We seek contributions that look at the short- and long-term effects. In the short-term, cities have slowed down while distancing has changed the look and experience of urban living. Over the longer term, the pandemic raises important issues of future forms including but not limited to:  public spaces, transportation, social difference as the virus reveals new and entrenched inequalities, precarity, issues of data collection, surveillance, and cities and connectivity. The issue will also look for papers on how this pandemic compares and contrasts with pandemics in cities of the past.

Prof. John Rennie Short
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Pandemic,
  • COVID-19,
  • New urban forms,
  • cities,
  • viral cities.

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Article
Challenges Facing the Delivery City Phenomenon after the COVID-19 Pandemic
Sustainability 2022, 14(15), 9243; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14159243 - 28 Jul 2022
Viewed by 222
Abstract
Due to the “untact” society caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, urban functions have grown increasingly reliant on the mobility of things rather than human mobility, giving rise to the “delivery city phenomenon” with real significance. This study explores the necessity to comprehend the [...] Read more.
Due to the “untact” society caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, urban functions have grown increasingly reliant on the mobility of things rather than human mobility, giving rise to the “delivery city phenomenon” with real significance. This study explores the necessity to comprehend the demands and social views of delivery city inhabitants (“actors”) to future urban planning, recognizing that the phenomenon of the delivery city has a significant impact on the shape and structure of modern cities. To do this, a grounded theory-based approach was used to evaluate keywords in Korean media articles and thoroughly code the content of actors’ contextual interviews and shadowing data. The results indicate that the delivery city phenomenon has changed the geographical sense of actors and the role of each space, and has urban planning implications such as in the establishment of social and spatial infrastructure, the institutional basis for technological development, and the call for sustainability. This study is meaningful in understanding modern cities centered around delivery services, which have gained global prominence, and it can contribute to sustainable urban planning by deriving urban tasks for this new phenomenon. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pandemic and the City: Urban Issues in the Context of COVID-19)
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Article
Intermediate Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Prices of Housing near Light Rail Transit: A Case Study of the Portland Metropolitan Area
Sustainability 2022, 14(15), 9107; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14159107 - 25 Jul 2022
Viewed by 294
Abstract
This study explored the dynamics of a residential property value premium for proximity to a light rail transit (LRT) station in the intermediate term (roughly two years) since the pandemic. We applied a longitudinal quasi-experimental design using repeat sales data from the Portland [...] Read more.
This study explored the dynamics of a residential property value premium for proximity to a light rail transit (LRT) station in the intermediate term (roughly two years) since the pandemic. We applied a longitudinal quasi-experimental design using repeat sales data from the Portland Metropolitan Area, Oregon. Our results indicate that the effect of the pandemic on prices of housing near LRT stations differs between single-family and multi-family markets. Since the pandemic outbreak, there has been no statically significant difference in the price appreciation between single-family (SF) housing within an LRT service area and otherwise similar SF homes; however, for multi-family (MF) homes, those within an LRT service area have experienced a 3.0% lower price appreciation rate than MFs outside such areas with similar characteristics. Our findings help better highlight the impact of the pandemic on the real estate market and can inform discussions about longer-term changes in post-COVID cities and their planning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pandemic and the City: Urban Issues in the Context of COVID-19)
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Article
Demographic and Social Dimension of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Polish Cities: Excess Deaths and Residents’ Fears
Sustainability 2022, 14(13), 8194; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14138194 - 05 Jul 2022
Viewed by 347
Abstract
The aim of this article is to present the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on demographic facts and social opinions regarding life in Polish cities under conditions of an epidemic threat. We point out that the way of informing the public about the [...] Read more.
The aim of this article is to present the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on demographic facts and social opinions regarding life in Polish cities under conditions of an epidemic threat. We point out that the way of informing the public about the threat of the disease was conducive to causing moral panic, and the imposed top-down methods of protection against infection and treatment methods, which were uniform for all, brought negative effects in the form of increased mortality and excess deaths. In this article, we present statistical data on the deaths of city dwellers with more than 100,000 inhabitants and the results of public opinion polls on changes in the perception of satisfaction with life in the city and fears related to the risk of disease. The pandemic has contributed to a deterioration in both health (excess deaths, health debt) and the broader quality of life. Previously, living in a large city in Poland provided a number of economic, social, and health benefits. The period of the pandemic and the methods used to fight this threat, have created a situation of moral panic and change unfavorable for urban residents. Based on statistical data and survey research, we attempt to verify this thesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pandemic and the City: Urban Issues in the Context of COVID-19)
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Article
Has the Pandemic Altered Public Perception of How Local Green Spaces Affect Quality of Life in the United Kingdom?
Sustainability 2022, 14(13), 7946; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14137946 - 29 Jun 2022
Viewed by 483
Abstract
Green spaces unquestionably improve both physical and mental health, but there is little information on how they affect quality of life. This study investigates whether the public perception of how local green spaces and their impact on quality of life have altered as [...] Read more.
Green spaces unquestionably improve both physical and mental health, but there is little information on how they affect quality of life. This study investigates whether the public perception of how local green spaces and their impact on quality of life have altered as a result of restrictions imposed by the U.K.’s SARS-CoV-2 pandemic containment strategy. Qualitative data were collected using an online questionnaire distributed via social media platforms and postal flyers. The results clearly demonstrate that 90% of participants believe that green spaces improved their quality of life during the pandemic, with over 85% thinking that green spaces will continue to have a positive impact on their quality of life once the pandemic is over. Whether this is a permanent change in public thinking or a short-term adaptation to the stresses of the pandemic can be assessed in future research studies. More detailed research is required to understand more clearly the aspects and types of green spaces that are the most valuable for improving quality of life so that future ones can be designed to provide maximum benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pandemic and the City: Urban Issues in the Context of COVID-19)
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Article
Location Is Back: The Influence of COVID-19 on Chinese Cities and Urban Governance
Sustainability 2022, 14(6), 3347; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14063347 - 12 Mar 2022
Viewed by 708
Abstract
This article explores the short-term and (potential) long-term influences of COVID-19 on urban China and its governance, which was characterised by increasing mobilities and delocalised societies before the outbreak. Through the analysis of 18 observation reports in 16 cities, it is revealed that [...] Read more.
This article explores the short-term and (potential) long-term influences of COVID-19 on urban China and its governance, which was characterised by increasing mobilities and delocalised societies before the outbreak. Through the analysis of 18 observation reports in 16 cities, it is revealed that the outbreak enables the government to (re-)build a location-based urban management system with the participation of residents facing the pandemic as an external threat. A paradoxical combination of low physical mobility and high information mobility occurs. The location-based lifestyle and governance pattern has been “normalised” rather than just being a temporary response to the pandemic. The re-localisation in urban China differs from the localism in western societies as it results from the combination of the state-power-based governmental action and citizens’ participation aimed at regaining location-based ontological security. The normalisation of the re-localisation tendency may bring about fundamental changes to urban China, even “after” the pandemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pandemic and the City: Urban Issues in the Context of COVID-19)
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Article
COVID-19 Face Masks as a Long-Term Source of Microplastics in Recycled Urban Green Waste
Sustainability 2022, 14(1), 207; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14010207 - 26 Dec 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1522
Abstract
Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, many governments recommended or mandated the wearing of fitted face masks to limit the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus via aerosols. Concomitant with the extensive use of non-sterile, surgical-type single-use face masks (SUM) [...] Read more.
Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, many governments recommended or mandated the wearing of fitted face masks to limit the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus via aerosols. Concomitant with the extensive use of non-sterile, surgical-type single-use face masks (SUM) was an increase of such masks, either lost or discarded, in various environmental settings. With their low tensile strength, the spunbond and melt-blown fabrics of the SUM are prone to shredding into small pieces when impacted by lawn cutting equipment. Observations highlight the absence of smaller pieces, which are either wind-dispersed or collected by the mower’s leaf catcher and disposed together with the green waste and then enter the municipal waste stream. As proof-of-concept, experiments using a domestic lawn-mower with different height settings and different grass heights, show that 75% of all pieces of SUM fabric caught in the catcher belonged to sizes below 10 mm2, which under the influence of UV light will decay into microfibers. The implications of SUM generated microplastics are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pandemic and the City: Urban Issues in the Context of COVID-19)
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Article
Local Community Experience as an Anchor Sustaining Reorientation Processes during COVID-19 Pandemic
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4385; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13084385 - 14 Apr 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 1367
Abstract
In recent months, Italian citizens have alternatively experienced a forced, total or partial, loss of their opportunities to go out and meet their social network or their reduction, according to the restrictions locally needed to contain the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak. The [...] Read more.
In recent months, Italian citizens have alternatively experienced a forced, total or partial, loss of their opportunities to go out and meet their social network or their reduction, according to the restrictions locally needed to contain the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak. The effects of these unprecedented circumstances and restrictions on their local community experience are still to be deepened. Consequently, this study investigated young citizens’ experiences of and attitudes towards their local communities of belonging after ten months of alternatively strict and partially eased restrictions. The World Café methodology was used to favor the exchange of ideas and open new viewpoints among participants. What emerged suggests that the communities of belonging may have worked as anchors to which young citizens clung as an attempt not to be overwhelmed by the disorientation brought about by the loss of their daily life (e.g., routines, life places, face-to-face sociability). On the one hand, this suggests that a renewed focus on local communities and a more involved way of living in them may stem from this tough time. On the other hand, these results point out the need for more meaningful and actively engaged people–community relationships as drivers for recovery processes under emergency circumstances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pandemic and the City: Urban Issues in the Context of COVID-19)
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Review

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Review
The Pandemic City: Urban Issues in the Time of COVID-19
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), 3295; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063295 - 17 Mar 2021
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 4048
Abstract
Pandemics have shaped the way cities are planned and configured. Throughout history, cities have evolved to solve problems of sanitation, hygiene, and health access while providing space and opportunities for the urban dwellers. COVID-19 will have significant implications in the way cities are [...] Read more.
Pandemics have shaped the way cities are planned and configured. Throughout history, cities have evolved to solve problems of sanitation, hygiene, and health access while providing space and opportunities for the urban dwellers. COVID-19 will have significant implications in the way cities are planned. This recent crisis highlights a number of issues. This paper looks at the context for the pandemic and then reviews studies and debates in four areas: transformations in the configuration of public spaces, transportation, urban connectivities, and urban economies. This pandemic, like other similar episodes in the past, is forcing us to rethink the nature of urban space and may be an opportunity to plan for safer, more sustainable cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pandemic and the City: Urban Issues in the Context of COVID-19)
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