17 November 2020
Author: Holly Friend
The presence of Covid-19 means that many civic areas are now daunting to approach but with social distancing possibly in place until 2022, according to Harvard researchers, urban planners must consider how cities can thrive under these restrictions.
High street retailers will face novel challenges when we emerge from lockdown because many consumers have become used to shopping close to home. Half of Americans are planning to support local businesses while independent retailers in Britain are booming, with 23% of consumers purchasing more often from their corner shops (source: YouGov).
Given these hyper-localised mindsets, retailers will need to find ways to entice people back into public spaces. The Hyperlocal Micromarket is a low-risk method of enabling street food markets to operate while allowing people to remain socially distant. The design consists of 16 square grids and can be easily replicated in other settings to enable safe shopping.
An urban design proposed for Vienna applies this concept to a public park. Precht envisages how a maze-like park would guide visitors on a 20-minute solitary walk, with one person entering each lane at a time. ‘There is a beauty in solitude and in connection to nature that people in the city often miss,’ says co-founder Chris Precht. ‘Sometimes you have to get away from everything to fully reconnect. For that we meditate, hike or go on silent retreats. This park is a short version of that.’
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