How to Prepare for COVID-19 Post Pandemic Scenario : 10 Steps | UPSC

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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 !


  The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has revealed our lack of preparedness for a global health emergency.  

This pandemic made us realise the value of reachable open spaces that allow movement within dense urban areas Photo: Wikimedia Commons

  • 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?


  • 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.


TimelinePublic health crisis and related urban reforms
14th centuryThe bubonic plague

It inspired radical improvements of the Renaissance in which cities expanded their borders, opened larger open spaces over suffocated public spacesand hired specialised professionals like architects and surveyors.

17th Century (1720)The Great Plague of Marseilles

This is an example of medieval and industrial cities implementing urban planning practices to aid disease control and how management of water waste helped remake cities post pandemic.

18th centuryHaussman model of zoning in urban planning

It emphasised functionality and a hierarchical order of land use which separated residential areas from other land uses, especially industrial land use.

1860sCholera and malaria outbreaks in New York city

They led to the establishment of the Metropolitan Board of Health.

It comprises of building and zoning codes to control overcrowdingmandated better sanitary conditions and propelled infrastructure investments that have influenced city services

18th and 19th centuryYellow fever and cholera outbreaks

These outbreaks globally identified the need for modern sewerage and sanitation systems like citywide sewer systems

19th and 20th centuryA few reports in the 19th and 20th centuries highlighted the importance of relationship between public health and urban planning. 
20th centuryTuberculosis, typhoid, Spanish flu and polio

Originated urban planning reforms like waste management, slum clearance, single-use zoning etc.

Source: DownToEarth

  LESSON TAUGHT : Every pandemic in the past has taught us lessons over the importance of our responses and preparedness.


  • 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.

  The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.


  A healthy city is one that continually creates and improves physical and social environments and expands community resources that enable people to mutually support each other in performing all the functions of life.

  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • CLEAN FOOT PATHS /SIDEWALKS: Some streets can be designated completely for walking and running while maintaining distance and reduce crowding on roads and streets.

 In Toronto, temporary pedestrianisation of downtown Yonge street — the city’s most important north-south artery — has been proposed.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 


  • 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 

DISCOVER MORE : Important Articles from DownToEarth


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