An Update for 2021
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An Update for 2021
By Justin Sharp
Alarm. Coffee. Computer. Make lunch. Clean. Computer. Make dinner. Clean. Computer. Repeat. Repeat for over a year.
I don’t recall a moment in my life where the term surreal became such a cliche sentiment, or would proper description of real life (to the point where if I did actually see melting clocks I wouldn’t be surprised). Perhaps more than anything I didn’t expecting to be writing my second “reflections on covid” piece a year after the first – but then again nothing in the past year was expected (with the exception that siting in my apartment for over a year has resulted in no clothes fitting anymore).
Luckily, working from home has the inherent luxury of not requiring various outfits, one is more than enough for video meetings. Working from home, as it turns out, has also become the ultimate luxury, and something we as urban planners shouldn’t ever forget when we shift into a post covid world. Remote meetings have eliminated the need of traveling unnecessary distances. Remote meetings have also allowed a much needed increase in accessibility to public meetings; removing obstacles of the democratic process has clearly been a revolving trend.
Around the same time last year I wrote some observations about how we’ve adapted to the pandemic as it was. The park was safely full of families attempting to get in as much nature as they could. Couples were on blankets using any reason to get outside, eating some takeout from a local independently owned restaurant. And some random guy sitting on a bench writing about it. A year later not much has really changed.
As the vaccines continue to roll out and the hint of a return to normalcy approaches I can’t help but think of how we’ll collectivity be changed by this. As planners what observations have we made during this time? Most importantly what have we learned to make communities better for the next time this happens? There will be another pandemic and if we’re insanely lucky no one reading this will experience it, but the neighbourhoods we design today eventually will. It’s our responsibility to ensure that the next crisis allows people the space to escape, to breath, and allow some foundations of their physical neighbourhood to exist.