Even after the coronavirus pandemic wanes and it’s once again safe to congregate with other people, society might never be the same.
University of British Columbia urban design professor Patrick Condon predicts that our cities will become even more stratified by socioeconomic class. In a university press release, he predicts a near future in which those with the means to do so retreat into their private homes, public infrastructure like transportation crumbles, and offices shutter as employees continue to work remotely.
And as the wealthy pull back from the rest of society, Condon anticipates that ride-hailing apps and private cars will further overtake trains and buses.
“The rich will withdraw even more behind the protection of doormen and gated communities,” Condon said in the release. “Sanitized cars with drivers on call. Everyone else will be more fearful of any public contact, at least for a number of years, if not a decade or more.”
Condon argues that housing inequality must be addressed or else his predicted decline in public transit systems could spell doom for workers who can’t afford to live in the cities where they work.
“In times of pandemic this inequity is increasingly glaring,” he said, “because it endangers commuting workers and interferes with the smooth functioning of the city.”
READ MORE: The post-pandemic city: Expert on how the coronavirus will impact future cities [University of British Columbia]
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