Now that we are months into our new normal and have had time to catch our collective breath, has reality really sunk in? What realizations have emerged? What of our cities? What of our communities?
As we listen to the news, podcasts, scan social media, read news articles, chat amongst friends and neighbors, are we nostalgic about what we have lost or visualizing the creative opportunity we have been presented with?
COVID-19 has catapulted us into the future at warp speed. We must embrace it, seize the moment, and embody an agile mindset, move quickly, and fail fast. Let us first think about how work from home has decimated our cities. It may not be about demolition and reconstruction. It could be about looking at each building efficiently and rethinking its best purpose.
Imagine our skyscrapers being drone stations e.g., for pharmaceutical home delivery, air taxis etc.
These types of structures lend themselves well to regiments of vehicles, enabling them to take off from larger heights would seem to be a safer option.
Imagine memory fields to honor our dead. These could be in visual rooms with gentle music, a calm and peaceful atmosphere, emulating countries, themes, spaces, land, or sea. Our final resting places could be a figment of our imagination. Our precious lands that are being smothered by graveyards, mausoleums and crematoriums could be green once again free from concrete, bricks, and mortar. They could be filled with trees and luscious greens, allowing more parklands in densely populated cities.
What of our communities? It has been interesting to see how these have evolved during the pandemic. In the first few weeks of lockdown the animals, birds and fish reclaimed their habitats - I have never seen so many species of birds, perhaps I just never noticed.
People are exercising more, neighbors talking more, landscaping projects appeared as the season changed and we began to enjoy our outdoor space. How can we capitalize on this revitalization? What about more neighborhood cafés, local restaurants, or bars? Community swap stations – for clothes, books, toys etc. Walk & talk groups, any reason for bringing people together in a safe controlled environment, on their doorstep.
I want to believe that the pandemic will be a catalyst for change, good change and that humanity will unite for a fairer, inclusive Planet Earth.
Parisians are creating a 15-minute city. This sounds like a workable solution - being able to bike or walk to everything you need within a 15-mile radius will cut CO2 emissions drastically and eliminate the need for cars, forcing us to exercise more, engage, and communicate more. Creating thriving communities will allow us to capitalize on a catastrophe and breathe new life, hope and optimism into our defeated population.
I dare you to venture outside early one morning. Close your eyes, take a few deep prolonged breaths and allow yourself to ponder the possibilities. In the words of John Lennon” Imagine.” I can, can you?