Post-Covid cities can only be saved by reinvention and transformation
As the pandemic empties city centres and alters work and travel patterns, planners must redesign them for new needs, functions and economies
With the prospect of a third wave looming larger, it is worth remembering that Covid-19 is not the first disaster to strike South African cities, nor will it be the last. Rather like the resilient fynbos that President Cyril Ramaphosa referred to in his state of the nation address, cities have always recovered from crises because of the valuable role they play in the economy and society. But they have not emerged unscathed.
The crucial question is how they will be altered as the recovery gets under way and gathers steam. Will there be a simple rebound to business as usual or will the urban landscape be changed in profound ways?..