What is going to be our new normal?COVID-19 Post Pandemic Scenario!
COVID-19 and green, open spaces: What is going to be our new normal?
WHY IN NEWS:
Living conditions created under a pandemic situation are also a reflection of the inadequacies of our cities
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 1:3:Urban Planning:Health:Diseases:COVID-19 Post Pandemic Scenario
For PRELIMS go through the timeline of urban iconic reforms !
For MAINS the whole article revolves around preparedness and actions to be taken both at physical and mental level . Let us dive in !
- Living conditions created under a pandemic situation are also a reflection of the inadequacies of our cities.
Should the focus be only on handing issues around COVID-19 or to be prepared for the future?
How prepared are we for a post-pandemic scenario?
URBAN PLANNING REFORMS AND PUBLIC HEALTH:
- The link between public health and urban planning is not complex as the intention is common: To provide safe and healthy environments in which citizens can live, work and play (characteristics of an ideal, happy city).
- This also includes the role of land use and built environment (public buildings, mixed land uses, pedestrian walkways open spaces and waterbodies) and its impacts on the health of population.
TIMELINE OF ICONIC URBAN PLANNING REFORMS
PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSIVENESS DIRECTIVES :
- QUICK ACTIONS : It is important to think about our responses at the end of the pandemic, while at the same time being ready for urgent issues like community disintegration, social disconnection and inequality, human waste and sanitation issues and water shortage.
DEFINITION OF A HEALTHY CITY :
- MISSING PLAYGROUNDS : We have locked ourselves and found alternatives to work from home through digital media, we have missed out on the ‘play’ aspect.
- RECREATIONAL SPACES : Most of our Indian cities do not meet the standards of required land cover for recreational spaces.
HOW CAN WE MOVE AHEAD?
- APPROACH : Once the COVID-19 pandemic is under control, more holistic approaches are needed.
- COLLABORATION : Cross-disciplinary collaboration of public policies, urban planning and design using open public spaces, parks, urban forests and integrated blue and green infrastructure are needed as tools to make cities healthy.
TURNING ZONING REGULATIONS INTO NATIONAL FLAGSHIP MISSION
- AMALGAMATION : Smart city and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) city missions are major steps for managing cities.
- SUSTAINABLE REFORMS : Both missions emphasise on environment sustainability, governance, financial and service delivery reforms, self-reliant revenue mechanisms, etc.
- DECENTRALISED SERVICES :Circumstantial planning, however, demands decentralisation of essential services, designs of open spaces in context with distance, proximity, size, quality and connectivity as a practical response to pandemics.
- ADDING GREEN SPACE : Promoting the use of blue-green spaces, physical activities on a neighbourhood or local and approachable level can help negate impacts of infectious diseases, chronic illnesses etc in the future.
STEP BY STEP ACCESS TO SPACES
- COPING UP WITH STIGMA : The stigma attached to the pandemic will prolong a period of distancing, but the craving for connection will be even more.
- GRADUAL MOVEMENT : We should gradually go back to crowded public placeslike restaurants, theatres, etc.
- EXERCISE : In some countries, the government has allowed people to leave their homes for exercise and physical activityonce a day.
- TIME BOUND REGULATIONS : To reduce crowding, we could regulate people inflows with time limits and over time periods.
- SOCIAL DISTANCING : Thus, even in limited spaces, physical distance can be maintained.
- REDUCING TRANSPORT LOAD : With people getting used to work from home, work places may be divided as certain days of a week from office and rest from home, to reduce load on public transport and work places.
- JUDICIOUS USE OF RESOURCES : In dense areas, access to parks and spaces can be limited by dividing them through house numbers.
- TIME LIMITS : Access to areas of school playgrounds, private golf clubs etc with time limits can also be open for public use.
- IT STARTS WITH YOU : Capacity building with citizens is important for all, as this is a voluntary act.
PEDESTRIANISATION COVID-19 POST PANDEMIC SCENARIO:
- CLEAN FOOT PATHS /SIDEWALKS: Some streets can be designated completely for walking and running while maintaining distance and reduce crowding on roads and streets.
URBAN PLANNING AND DESIGN APPROACH TOWARDS BLUE-GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE:
- OPENING PUBLIC SPACES : These multipurpose public open spaces can be reformed to fight monsoon floods and be used for creating temporary shelters to accommodate migrantsstruggling during the lockdown.
- ENSURING COMPLIANCES : It is essential to ensure the quantity, quality and accessibility of open spaces at a local level through urban planning and design.
- UNDERUSED SITES :The mapping of underused and low-functioning sites and their reclamation can be another approach at local levels.
SOURCES:DownToEarth/COVID-19 Post Pandemic Scenario
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