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The City and the Virus

Nathan, M; (2021) The City and the Virus. Urban Studies 10.1177/00420980211058383. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Cities around the world are the epicentres of the coronavirus pandemic: both in the first wave, as the disease spread from East Asia, and now, as many countries enter a third wave of infections. These spatial patterns are still far from properly understood, though there is no shortage of possible explanations. I set out the emerging theories about cities’ role in the spread of coronavirus, testing these against existing studies and new analysis for English conurbations, cities and towns. Both reveal an urbanised public health crisis, in which vulnerabilities and health impacts track (a) urban structural inequalities, and (b) wider weaknesses in institutions, their capabilities and leaders. I then turn to ‘post-pandemic’ visions of future cities. I argue that this framing is unhelpful: even with mass vaccination, COVID-19 is likely to remain one of many globalised endemic diseases. Instead, ‘pandemic-resilient’ urban places will require improved economic, social and physical infrastructure, alongside better public policy. Describing such future cities is still highly speculative: I identify five zones of change. // 世界各地的城市都是冠状病毒大流行的中心:无论是在第一波疫情从东亚开始传播时,还是现在许多国家进入第三波感染。尽管不乏可能的解释,但这些空间模式仍远未得到正确理解。我阐述了关于城市在冠状病毒传播中的作用的一些新理论,并根据现有研究和针对英国大都市和城镇的新分析对这些理论进行了检验。两者都揭示了城市化的公共卫生危机,其中脆弱性和健康影响与以下因素相伴随:(a) 城市结构性不平等;以及 (b) 机构、其能力和领导者的更广泛弱点。接着,我转向未来城市的后疫情时代愿景。我认为这种框架是无益的:即使进行了大规模疫苗接种,新冠肺炎仍然可能会是许多全球化的地方病之一。相反,具有“抗流行病能力”的城市场所将需要经过改良的经济、社会和物质基础设施,以及更好的公共政策。对这样的未来城市的描述仍然具有高度的推测性:我确定了五个变革区域。

Type: Article
Title: The City and the Virus
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/00420980211058383
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/00420980211058383
Language: English
Additional information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
Keywords: Cities, coronavirus, inequalities, labour markets, urban governance // 城市, 冠状病毒, 不平等, 劳动力市场, 城市治理
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10136854
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