From garden streets to bike highways: four ideas for post-Covid cities – visualised

As the pandemic wreaks havoc on existing structures, we look at some visions for post-Covid cities – and how they hold up

There is a huge, looming, unanswerable question that overshadows our cities, like an elephant squatting in the central square. Will a Covid-19 vaccine or herd immunity return us to “normal”, or will we need to redesign our cities to accommodate a world in which close proximity to other people can kill you?

After an anxious summer in the northern hemisphere, during which those of us who were able to safely do so mimicked a kind of normality with limited socialising on patios and in gardens, winter is coming – and it will test the limits of our urban design. Regardless of whether we “solve” this latest coronavirus, humanity now knows how vulnerable we are to pandemics.

Can we mitigate the effects of the next great disease before it happens? And has the colossal disruption to the way we work and travel created a renewed impetus to organise cities in a more sustainable, more pleasant way?

We asked four architecture firms to share their visions of what cities should do, now, to better design everything from offices to streets to transport – and we have analysed each one – to help inoculate our cities against a disease that is proving so difficult to inoculate against in our bodies.

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