Cities constantly evolve. But in the midst of this unprecedented moment, where stark failures to address equity, resiliency, and leadership have been exposed to the core, they seem ripe for remaking.
My goal with Shutdown Corners is to explore how the built environment will be changed by this pandemic. It’s a story beyond just architecture, design, and real estate; the politics of rent and worker strikes, the way shutdown and shelter-in-place uproot entire industries, and the existential financial crisis facing public transit are just three ways COVID-19 have exposed the precariousness of urban life in 2020.
Simplistically, the story of cities is how financial shocks reshape the physical; redlining, suburbanization, globalization, the Great Recession, these seismic events both erected buildings and ripped down homes. This pandemic, to paraphrase a recent McKinsey study, is a physical shock reshaping the financial: mom-and-pop restaurants and small businesses going under, the housing market gets throttled, and everyone experiences the slow tear in the fabric from six feet apart.