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Community under the Epidemic-Urban Design

Community under the Epidemic-Urban Design

Public space accommodates the behaviors that arise when people construct a range of social relations in the public sphere. In modern society, as the world in which we live gradually expands, the scope and level of public space is constantly expanding and its internal mechanisms are undergoing continuous change. However, the outbreak of the New Crown epidemic in 2020 completely changed the substance and state of public space in a very short period of time. The exceptional period of closure of the city and quarantine of the neighborhoods at home led to a new wave of challenges for the communities in which we live every day. Perhaps the most profound insight from the outbreak is that we are learning to re-examine the ‘home’ we live in, giving ourselves a refuge to slow down and the planet a chance to recuperate. The aftermath of the epidemic will eventually dissipate, but the need for healthy living is ever present.

The existing community space and facilities are not adequate to meet the needs of the residents at this particular time, and many problems have been revealed. In the point, line and surface spaces of the community, there are functions that have been created by residents’ habits, such as greenery, food, shopping, recreation and fitness, interpersonal communication, gatherings, public information exchange, square dancing, etc. Residents have become accustomed to these activities, so the design of public space in the post-epidemic community should be explored from this perspective.

The post-epidemic era has transformed the intrinsic nature of public space, with human action defining the direction of public space (Rice, L. ., 2020). How to maintain a safe social distance in public space has become a new challenge, with public space becoming semi-public and the distinction between public and private gradually blurred. In contemporary times, the use of open space design is becoming a new trend. The theory of open architecture was introduced in the Netherlands in the 1960s, emphasizing the openness and variability of space and exploring the flexibility and variability of space. However, it has not been implemented on a large scale in our lives, and we should probably put openness in the first place in the design of public spaces in the post-epidemic era. The openness of public buildings provides a direction for addressing safe social distances and air circulation quality. This approach can blur the distinction between the interior and exterior of public buildings, expanding safe social distances while ensuring air circulation quality, lessening the density of pedestrian flow, and harmonizing the spatial attributes of the interior and exterior.


Rice, L. . (2020). After covid-19: urban design as spatial medicine. Urban Design International.

Stevens, N. J. ,  Tavares, S. G. , &  Salmon, P. M. . The adaptive capacity of public space under covid-19: exploring urban design interventions through a sociotechnical systems approach. Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing & Service Industries.

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Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
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