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The post-pandemic city: speculation through simulation

Batty, M; (2022) The post-pandemic city: speculation through simulation. Cities , 124 , Article 103594. 10.1016/j.cities.2022.103594. Green open access

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Although we can explain the way centripetal and centrifugal forces determine the form and function of contemporary cities, our abilities to predict their futures are severely limited. The pandemic has led to changes in locational and travel behaviour as well as regulated lockdowns with respect to where people work, live and social distance from one another. This makes it impossible to predict a ‘new normal’ reflecting ways we are able to control and manage the pandemic. As we have little data pertaining to this future, to engage in informed discussion, we develop a hypothetical city organised around theories of spatial interaction, urban hierarchy, density, and heterogeneity of movement. We propose a symmetric square grid of locations, simulate the interactions using gravitational models, and then lock it down. We release the lockdown in the transition to a new normal, assuming different parameter values controlling the effects of distance, illustrating the difficulty of generating highly decentralised city forms. We apply the model to London, locking down the metropolis, and exploring seven functional forms that provide us with a sample of different city shapes and densities. Our approach provides a framework for speculating about the future using what we call ‘computable thought experiments’.

Type: Article
Title: The post-pandemic city: speculation through simulation
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.cities.2022.103594
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2022.103594
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2022 The Author. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: COVID-19, spatial interaction, lockdown, working from home, symmetry-breaking, spatial heterogeneity
UCL classification: 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
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10143759
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