Photo Courtesy Mark Lehmkuhler via Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0

Stephen Luoni, University of Arkansas
June 10, 2020

What is a healthy city after the COVID-19 pandemic? One instinctive line of thinking argues that cities will have to become less dense to mitigate the effects of this and future pandemics. Historically, people fled the city for the safety of a lower-density countryside upon infection of a virgin community by an unfamiliar disease. Before modern public health, plague, cholera, smallpox, viruses, and other transmissible diseases could kill most of a city’s residents, when, urban economist Edward Glaeser observes, “cities were killing fields”. Old World cities evolved into civilized disease pools where…

Graphic courtesy of W. E. B. Du Bois’ Hand-Drawn Infographics of African-American Life (1900), The Public Domain Review

Elgin Cleckley, University of Virginia

Data on the effects of COVID-19 in communities of color became apparent at the beginning of April. ProPublica reported on the situation in Milwaukee on April 3, where the virus emerged from an affluent white suburb and then took hold in the city’s African American community. African Americans make up almost half of Milwaukee County’s 945 cases and 81% of its 27 deaths in a county whose population is only 26% black.¹ At the time, the source also noted that Milwaukee is one of the few places in the United States tracking the racial breakdown…

Community engagement events about food equity issues through Dotte Agency. Photo courtesy of the author.

Shannon Criss, University of Kansas

The coronavirus has demonstrated the depth of our society’s inequality, not just through mortality rates that are having inequitable impact by race and class but also through evidences of inequitable access to the basic human needs: food, housing, healthcare, jobs. Though the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention don’t share coronavirus data by race, city and state data indicate that COVID-19 cases are heavily concentrated in communities of color. “In Chicago, 23% of residents are Black but account for 58% of COVID-19 deaths. In Milwaukee, the black population are roughly one-quarter of the population…

Empty Office, It’s No Game photography, FlickrCC BY-2.0

The Big Disaggregation: Has COVID-19 Forever Changed the Nature of Architecture?

Kim Tanzer, Professor Emeritus, University of Virginia
Tom Fisher, Professor, University of Minnesota

The COVID-19 pandemic has not just revealed several structural flaws in American society’s systems and safety net. It has also accelerated the disaggregation of business sectors that were formerly centralized economically, politically, and spatially, which may dramatically reshape the environments in which we live and work.

Consider the recent news that some of the country’s meat packing plants have become COVID hot spots. Centralized production facilities force large groups of people to work in close quarters…

Guangzhou, China, with clear skies (photographer: Sergei Gussev, Flickr CC by 2.0)

Resiliency — Reclaiming This Missing Public Good in the Post-Pandemic Reset

Stephen Luoni, University of Arkansas
May 20, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored structural vulnerabilities in public life before the pandemic. Coherence in both our public and private lives is shaped by public goods, those essential non-market benefits derived from law, governance, security, clean water and air, public health, roads, social care, education, public space, ecosystem health, and others. Public goods entail cooperation based on equity, access or nonreciprocal and inexhaustible use, meaning the consumption of goods does not deprive another of the right to do the same. While…

Broadway Theater, Mt. Pleasant, MI (photographer: Dan Gaken, Flickr CC by 2.0)

Thomas Fisher, University of Minnesota
May 7, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is different from those that have come before. It represents not just a global plague, like the Black Death in medieval Europe or the “Spanish flu” in 1918, nor just an economic downturn, like the Great Depression or Great Recession. This pandemic is what ecologists call a panarchic “release,” which happens when one species becomes so dominant in an ecosystem that it overconsumes resources to the point where a triggering event — a disease, drought, or disruption of some sort — causes the ecosystem to collapse and reorganize itself…

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Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. Founded in 1912 to advance the quality of architectural education.

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