The Post-COVID Urbanism

A special issue of Urban Science (ISSN 2413-8851).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2023) | Viewed by 34442

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Geography and Urban Planning, Faculty of Geographical Sciences and Planning, University of Isfahan, Isfahan 81746-73441, Iran
Interests: smart cities; climate change; shrinking cities; spatial inequality; strategic planning
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many aspects of urban life, raising questions regarding the desirability of the past and present patterns of urban planning and development. Among other things, it has exposed some of the long-lasting problems such as the unsustainable human–environment interactions, the ever-growing environmental footprint of cities, deep-rooted urban inequalities, and the fragmented urban governance systems. This is not the first time in the human history that pandemics have hit cities and will probably not be the last. In fact, previous pandemics have provided incentives to enhance public health and improve quality of urban life by, for instance, restructuring infrastructure systems. The COVID-19 pandemic unraveled at a historical juncture when unprecedented scientific and technological advances provide opportunities to develop transformative solutions towards more sustainable and resilient forms of urban planning and development. It is essential to seize these opportunities to recover from the crisis in a more just, sustainable, and resilient manner. This will also ensure alignment with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and may enable planners and policymakers to deal with more complex and challenging issues such as climate change that are looming over cities.

The need for building better is already acknowledged by many researchers and policymakers. In fact, there are already ongoing discussions in science and policy circles regarding the need for new urban planning/design paradigms and models in the post-COVID era that reflect the lessons learned from the pandemic. Against this background, this Special Issue of Urban Science aims to offer a platform to advance our understanding of the evolving dynamics of the pandemic in cities, synthesize the existing knowledge, discuss the lessons that can be learned, and explore strategies for transformative solutions towards more sustainable and resilient cities in the post-COVID era. We encourage researchers and practitioners to submit original research articles, case studies, reviews, critical perspectives, and viewpoint articles on topics, including, but not limited to:

  • social, economic, and environmental impacts of the pandemic on cities;
  • the evolving patterns of COVID-19 spread in cities;
  • success and failure cases of pandemic control in cities;
  • pandemic-resilient cities;
  • lessons learned from the pandemic;
  • short-, medium- and long-term implications of the pandemic for urban planning and design;
  • implications of the pandemic for achievement of the SDGs and climate change adaptation/mitigation targets;
  • post-COVID urban planning and development scenarios;
  • new urban planning/design paradigms and models in the post-COVID era;
  • promotion of smart cities for enhancing resilience to future pandemics;
  • sustainable and resilient recovery strategies.

Dr. Ayyoob Sharifi
Dr. Amir Reza Khavarian-Garmsir
Guest Editors

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. Urban Science is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly 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 1600 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

  • urbanization
  • urban planning
  • urban design
  • COVID-19
  • post-COVID urbanism
  • pandemic
  • urban resilience
  • smart cities
  • sustainable recovery

Published Papers (9 papers)

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18 pages, 4380 KiB  
Article
Spatial Distribution and Quality of Urban Public Spaces in the Attica Region (Greece) during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Survey-Based Analysis
by Athina Mela, Evgenia Tousi, Emmanouil Melas and George Varelidis
Urban Sci. 2024, 8(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci8010002 - 25 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1965
Abstract
This study investigates the spatial distribution and quality of urban public spaces in the Attica region during the COVID-19 pandemic. A questionnaire survey was conducted to gather data on the availability, accessibility, and quality of open urban public spaces. The findings indicate that, [...] Read more.
This study investigates the spatial distribution and quality of urban public spaces in the Attica region during the COVID-19 pandemic. A questionnaire survey was conducted to gather data on the availability, accessibility, and quality of open urban public spaces. The findings indicate that, although several respondents reported the presence of outdoor public spaces in their respective areas, these spaces often did not meet the desired quality standards. Notably, a clear preference was expressed for open public spaces located within a convenient walking distance, typically within a 15-min walk. Quality assessments varied across different sectors of Attica, with the central Athens and central Piraeus sectors receiving lower ratings in terms of availability, quality, and safety. Compared to the rest of Attica, the residential suburbs of Athens’s Northern Sector appear to have more accessible, safe, and well-maintained public areas. The research underscores the critical importance of quality public spaces, particularly during times of crisis. This study emphasizes the need for a re-evaluation of urban planning strategies to ensure that public spaces remain functional and accessible to citizens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Post-COVID Urbanism)
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21 pages, 3419 KiB  
Article
Investigating the Role of Neighborhood Development Offices (NDOs) in the Resilience of Deteriorated Urban Neighborhoods against the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Empirical Study of Tehran, Using a Hybrid Balanced-Based Assessment Framework
by Safiyeh Tayebi, Saeed Esfandi, Sajedeh Bahraini Moqadam and Ayyoob Sharifi
Urban Sci. 2022, 6(4), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci6040077 - 2 Nov 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2151
Abstract
This study aimed to develop a balanced-based assessment framework to evaluate the effectiveness of Neighborhood Development Offices’ (NDOs) actions in improving the resilience of Tehran’s deteriorated neighborhoods against the COVID-19 pandemic. For this purpose, considering the main missions of NDOs, 20 indicators were [...] Read more.
This study aimed to develop a balanced-based assessment framework to evaluate the effectiveness of Neighborhood Development Offices’ (NDOs) actions in improving the resilience of Tehran’s deteriorated neighborhoods against the COVID-19 pandemic. For this purpose, considering the main missions of NDOs, 20 indicators were extracted from the literature and delivered to the offices and residents of target neighborhoods to prioritize them. Next, using a combination of the K-means clustering method and the balance-based conceptual model, the degree of balance between the measures taken by NDOs and residents’ needs in each neighborhood was determined. Finally, short-term actions (such as teaching health protocols, providing neighborhood services, and providing walking and cycling infrastructures) and long-term actions (developing public spaces, facilitating access to healthcare, and reducing social inequality) are suggested, which simultaneously promote balanced resilience against the COVID-19 pandemic and possible future pandemics in all aspects of NDOs’ missions. The framework presented in this research can also be used to evaluate and boost the resilience of other deteriorated neighborhoods with similar conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Post-COVID Urbanism)
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13 pages, 2544 KiB  
Article
A Geographical Analysis of Socioeconomic and Environmental Drivers of Physical Inactivity in Post Pandemic Cities: The Case Study of Chicago, IL, USA
by Alexander Hohl and Aynaz Lotfata
Urban Sci. 2022, 6(2), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci6020028 - 14 Apr 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3605
Abstract
The pandemic’s lockdown has made physical inactivity unavoidable, forcing many people to work from home and increasing the sedentary nature of their lifestyle. The link between spatial and socio-environmental dynamics and people’s levels of physical activity is critical for promoting healthy lifestyles and [...] Read more.
The pandemic’s lockdown has made physical inactivity unavoidable, forcing many people to work from home and increasing the sedentary nature of their lifestyle. The link between spatial and socio-environmental dynamics and people’s levels of physical activity is critical for promoting healthy lifestyles and improving population health. Most studies on physical activity or sedentary behaviors have focused on the built environment, with less attention to social and natural environments. We illustrate the spatial distribution of physical inactivity using the space scan statistic to supplement choropleth maps of physical inactivity prevalence in Chicago, IL, USA. In addition, we employ geographically weighted regression (GWR) to address spatial non-stationarity of physical inactivity prevalence in Chicago per census tract. Lastly, we compare GWR to the traditional ordinary least squares (OLS) model to assess the effect of spatial dependency in the data. The findings indicate that, while access to green space, bike lanes, and living in a diverse environment, as well as poverty, unsafety, and disability, are associated with a lack of interest in physical activities, limited language proficiency is not a predictor of an inactive lifestyle. Our findings suggest that physical activity is related to socioeconomic and environmental factors, which may help guide future physical activity behavior research and intervention decisions, particularly in identifying vulnerable areas and people. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Post-COVID Urbanism)
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20 pages, 3528 KiB  
Article
Pandemic-Resilient Urban Centers: A New Way of Thinking for Industrial-Oriented Urbanization in Ethiopia
by Daniel Tesfaw Mengistu, Ephrem Gebremariam, Xingping Wang and Shengbo Zhao
Urban Sci. 2022, 6(2), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci6020026 - 30 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3326
Abstract
In Ethiopia, the flourishing of industrial parks in the suburbs of major urban centers is a recent phenomenon. The outbreak of COVID-19 has had an adverse impact on the emerging industrial parks and prospects of cluster cities. The aim of this article is [...] Read more.
In Ethiopia, the flourishing of industrial parks in the suburbs of major urban centers is a recent phenomenon. The outbreak of COVID-19 has had an adverse impact on the emerging industrial parks and prospects of cluster cities. The aim of this article is to explore the different urban planning measures employed during the pandemic and to propose sound planning methods for the development of sustainable industrial-oriented urban centers. In Ethiopia, industrial-oriented urbanization started in the 1920s with the advent of the railway line. Currently, more than 25 industrial park-based cluster cities have flourished adjacent to cities. A number of initiatives have been undertaken by major stakeholders in these cluster cities to combat COVID-19. Their efforts, however, were made difficult because urban planners were not proactive and did not have foresight in the selection of sites that can mitigate the impact of COVID-19 or other similar pandemics. The researchers believe the problem could have been addressed if the planners used a science-based, human-focused, computer-aided decision-making approach, i.e., space syntax. Therefore, this article recommends that planners become proactive and work in collaboration with different stakeholders for the creation of resilient and livable industrial parks-oriented urban centers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Post-COVID Urbanism)
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15 pages, 294 KiB  
Article
Transformative Effects of Overtourism and COVID-19-Caused Reduction of Tourism on Residents—An Investigation of the Anti-Overtourism Movement on the Island of Mallorca
by Sebastian Amrhein, Gert-Jan Hospers and Dirk Reiser
Urban Sci. 2022, 6(1), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci6010025 - 15 Mar 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 4622
Abstract
The coronavirus outbreak in late 2019 and the subsequent restrictions on mobility and physical contacts caused an extreme collapse of international tourism. Shortly before the pandemic turned the world upside down, one of the most pressing issues in global tourism was a phenomenon [...] Read more.
The coronavirus outbreak in late 2019 and the subsequent restrictions on mobility and physical contacts caused an extreme collapse of international tourism. Shortly before the pandemic turned the world upside down, one of the most pressing issues in global tourism was a phenomenon that became known as overtourism. It describes massively the negative impacts of tourism on destinations and the frustrated residents protesting against it, with discontent reaching a dimension that could hardly be estimated at the time when Doxey’s Irritation Index was created. Especially in southern European destinations, thousands of people have taken to the streets over their dissatisfaction with the unlimited growth of tourism and its negative effects on their daily lives. Within a few years, small neighbourhood actions morphed into coordinated social movements demanding that politicians make fundamental changes to the socio-economic system. Those events demonstrate a politicizing effect of tourism that has not sufficiently been addressed hitherto in tourism research, which is mainly focused on the attitude of the visited towards tourism itself. This article offers a broader socio-political approach that focuses on tourism as one of the largest industries within a capitalist system that has massive impacts on people’s lives, rather than simply on changing attitudes towards tourism. Twelve problem-centred interviews with actors of the anti-overtourism movements in the Balearic Island of Mallorca were conducted to examine the effects of overtourism and COVID-19-caused tourism breakdown on residents’ socio-political perspectives. Building on the transformative learning theory developed by the American sociologist Jack Mezirow, the analysis of the data revealed far-reaching influences on residents’ personal development, fundamental perspectives and professional decisions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Post-COVID Urbanism)
14 pages, 1684 KiB  
Article
Social Resilience Promotion Factors during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Insights from Urmia, Iran
by Hadi Alizadeh and Ayyoob Sharifi
Urban Sci. 2022, 6(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci6010014 - 22 Feb 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 4527
Abstract
Social resilience is an essential need for societies faced with adverse events such as pandemics. The recent COVID-19 outbreak has affected many communities around the globe. In fact, in addition to unprecedented mortality and infection rates, it has also caused major anxieties and [...] Read more.
Social resilience is an essential need for societies faced with adverse events such as pandemics. The recent COVID-19 outbreak has affected many communities around the globe. In fact, in addition to unprecedented mortality and infection rates, it has also caused major anxieties and social problems. Iran has been one of the hardest-hit countries and is among those that have experienced multiple waves of the outbreak. In this study, we try to identify major factors that can contribute to urban social resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic in Urmia, a major city located in Northwestern Iran. Data for the study were collected via a field visit and a semi-structured interview survey involving 194 participants. Findings show that several factors related to the following three themes play a significant role in promoting social resilience: (1) participative and supportive governance, (2) resource accessibility, and (3) citizen participation and lawfulness. Results can inform local authorities in Urmia and other contexts to deal with COVID-19 and similar pandemics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Post-COVID Urbanism)
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23 pages, 6437 KiB  
Article
Exercising under COVID-2x: Conceptualizing Future Green Spaces in Australia’s Neighborhoods
by Dirk H. R. Spennemann
Urban Sci. 2021, 5(4), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci5040093 - 13 Dec 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3880
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be a social and economic disruptor on a global scale, severely curtailing people’s ability to travel and engage in many recreation activities. Periodic lockdown and stay-at-home orders have exacerbated the situation. In this social climate, urban green [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be a social and economic disruptor on a global scale, severely curtailing people’s ability to travel and engage in many recreation activities. Periodic lockdown and stay-at-home orders have exacerbated the situation. In this social climate, urban green spaces have attained a high significance for the maintenance of the physical and mental health of the population. Given the presence of similar coronaviruses in animal populations, it can be predicted that future epidemics and even pandemics will occur. Urban planning needs to incorporate the lessons learnt during COVID-19 in order to future-proof our communities. This paper reviews the role that urban green spaces played during the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on these observations, the paper discusses a range of options for the provision of pandemic-sensitive spaces for physical exercise and mental recreation. Design concepts for long-term planning adjustments as well as for future ad-hoc solutions are provided. These include the provision of social distancing ‘pods’ embedded in design and landscaping of permanent parks, the design of ad-hoc, socially distanced ‘parklets’ on a quietened street and a rethink of the design of curb-to-boundary setbacks (nature strip) in residential streets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Post-COVID Urbanism)
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12 pages, 2434 KiB  
Article
Preparing for COVID-2x: Urban Planning Needs to Regard Urological Wastewater as an Invaluable Communal Public Health Asset and Not as a Burden
by Dirk H. R. Spennemann
Urban Sci. 2021, 5(4), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci5040075 - 1 Oct 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3024
Abstract
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the analysis of urological wastewater had been a matter of academic curiosity and community-wide big-picture studies looking at drug use or the presence of select viruses such as Hepatitis. The COVID-19 pandemic saw systematic testing of urological wastewater [...] Read more.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the analysis of urological wastewater had been a matter of academic curiosity and community-wide big-picture studies looking at drug use or the presence of select viruses such as Hepatitis. The COVID-19 pandemic saw systematic testing of urological wastewater emerge as a significant early detection tool for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in a community. Even though the pandemic still rages in all continents, it is time to consider the post-pandemic world. This paper posits that urban planners should treat urological wastewater as a communal public health asset and that future sewer design should allow for stratified multi-order sampling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Post-COVID Urbanism)
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5 pages, 446 KiB  
Viewpoint
How COVID-19 Exposed Water Supply Fragility in Florida, USA
by Mary G. Lusk, Lisa S. Krimsky and Nicholas Taylor
Urban Sci. 2021, 5(4), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci5040090 - 18 Nov 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3138
Abstract
Healthcare demand for liquid oxygen during the COVID-19 pandemic limited the availability of oxygen needed for ozone disinfection of drinking water in several urban areas of Florida. While the situation reduced the state’s capacity to provide normal drinking water treatment for millions of [...] Read more.
Healthcare demand for liquid oxygen during the COVID-19 pandemic limited the availability of oxygen needed for ozone disinfection of drinking water in several urban areas of Florida. While the situation reduced the state’s capacity to provide normal drinking water treatment for millions of people, calls for water conservation during the emergency period resulted in virtually no change in water consumption. Here, we point out that 38–40% of the potable water produced by one of the major utilities in Florida is not used for drinking water but instead is used for outdoor landscape irrigation. This suggests that emergency-level calls for reduced water use could have been made if outdoor irrigation was limited, but we present data showing that there was little change in public behavior, and the state was unable to meet necessary water use reductions during the emergency. This inability to meet short-term emergency water conservation needs foretells a long-term lack of resilience against other global change scenarios and suggests that much work is still needed to build resilience into Florida’s water future. We conclude this Viewpoint paper by calling for more urgent sociohydrological research to understand the coupled human-natural drivers of how water supplies respond to global change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Post-COVID Urbanism)
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