Open Archive: Urban Research and Covid-19
Urban studies, urban planning and urban design have historically played a pivotal role in the combat against epidemics. Friedrich Engels’ 1846 classic work ‘The Condition of the Working Class in England’ that illustrated the miserable 19th century living conditions in England, relied significantly on epidemiological evidence from large industrial cities such as Manchester and Liverpool, where mortality from epidemics was four times that in the surrounding countryside and significantly higher than the national average.
A year earlier, the medical doctor John Snow had mapped a cholera outbreak in the centre of London and was able to trace the outbreak back to a water pump on Broad Street. It formed the basis for the formulation of a waterborne germ theory of cholera, replacing the then prevailing miasma or foul air theory explaining epidemics.
Both Friedrich Engels’ and John Snow’s insights, amongst numerous other contributions, would fundamentally alter the nature and focus of urban planning. Sanitation and public health became a crucial concern amongst urban planners and led amongst other things to the construction of sewage systems in large cities. The despondent housing conditions in industrial cities formed the basis for the formulation of modern utopias that would bring back light, air, greenery and public space to the city. The design principles behind Le Corbusier’s Ville Radieuse and Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City were fully inspired by public health concerns.
The attention paid to public health and disease prevention in the 19th and early 20th century would culminate in modernist architecture and urban design that would become the standard for post-war housing schemes across the globe. In Sweden, the newly founded National Tenants Union’s demand was “Healthy homes for all!” in 1923. Ludvig Nordström’s 1937 radio documentary series “Dirt-Sweden” lamented the rural housing condition with its lack of health and hygiene. For Nordström, it was “the peoples’ health, the whole nations’ power” that was at stake. The program would lead to the start of a national housing policy to provide the nation with affordable quality housing that had public health concerns at its very core.
Concerns about public health and disease have given birth to modern urban planning and design and have informed it for many decades since. The tight connections between medical concerns and urban planning and design, once so prominent, are now lost. In a time of frequent epidemics (SARS 2002, swine flu 2009, Ebola 2014, and now Covid-19) that can easily turn pandemic in our hyperconnected world, it is of the utmost importance that urban scholars, planners and designers reinstate the significance of public health concerns as a vital cornerstone for city building.
The “Urban Research and Covid-19” Open Archive
Books and chapters
- Ali SH and Keil R (2008) Networked Disease: Emerging Infections in the Global City. Chichester: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
- Ali SH and Keil R (2010) Securitizing Networked Flows: Infectious Diseases and Airports. In: Graham S (ed) Disrupted Cities: When Infrastructure Fails. New York and London: Routledge, p. 97-110.
- Ali SH and Keil R (2011) The Urban Political Pathology of Emerging Infectious Disease in the Age of the Global City. In: McCann E and Ward K (eds) Mobile Urbanism. Cities and Policymaking in the Global Age. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, p. 123-145.
- Ali H, Dumbuya H, Hynie M, Idahosa P, Keil R and Perkins P (2016) The Social and Political Dimensions of the Ebola Response: Global Inequality, Climate Change and Infectious Disease. In: Filho WL, Azeiteiro UM and Alves F (eds) Climate Change and Health: Improving Resilience and Reducing Risks. London: Springer, p. 1151-169.
- Engelmann L, Henderson J and Lynteris C (2018) Plague and the City. London and New York: Routledge.
- Major C and Keil R (2011) SARS and Service Work. Infectious Disease and Racialization in Toronto. In: Baldwin A, Cameron L and Kobayashi A (eds) Rethinking the Great White North. Race, Nature, and the Historical Geographies of Whiteness in Canada. Vancouver and Toronto: UBC Press, p. 107.
- Wallace R (2020) Dead Epidemiologists: On the Origins of COVID-19. Monthly Review Press.
- Ali SH and Keil R (2006) Global Cities and the Spread of Infectious Disease: The Case of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in Toronto, Canada. Urban Studies 43(3): 491-509.
- Ali SH and Keil R (2006) The Avian Flu: Some Lessons Learned from the 2003 SARS Outbreak in Toronto. Area 38(1): 107-109.
- Ali SH and Keil R (2007) Governing the Sick City: Urban Governance in the age of Emerging Infectious Disease. Antipode 39(5): 846-873.
- Barrios RE (2017) What Does Catastrophe Reveal for Whom? The Anthropology of Crises and Disasters at the Onset of the Anthropocene. Annual Review of Anthropology 46(1): 151-166
- Connolly C, Keil R and Ali SH (2020) Extended urbanisation and the spatialities of infectious disease: Demographic change, infrastructure and governance. Urban Studies OnlineFirst.
- Das D and Zhang JJ (2020) Pandemic in a smart city: Singapore’s COVID-19 management through technology & society. Urban Geography.
- Datta A, Aditi A, Ghoshal A, Thomas A and Mishra Y (2020) Apps, maps and war rooms: on the modes of existence of “COVtech” in India. Urban Geography.
- Donaldson A and Murakami Wood D (2008) Avian Influenza and Events in Political Biogeography. Area 40(1): 128-130.
- Enright T and Ward K (2021) Governing urban infrastructures under pandemic conditions: some thoughts. Urban Geography
- Füller H (2016) Pandemic cities: biopolitical effects of changing infection control in post-SARS Hong Kong. The Geographical Journal 182(4): 342-352.
- Keil R (2009) Urban Politics and Public Health: What’s Urban, What’s Politics? Urban Geography 1: 36-39.
- Madden D (2020) The urban process under covid capitalism. City.
- Masco J (2017) The crisis in crisis. Current Anthropology 58(15): 65-76.
- Monzó LD (2020) Colonialism, Migration, Pandemic: The Immutable Evidence that Capitalism Is Racist and Misogynist. Monthly Review 72(3): 48-63.
- Odendaal N (2020) Constructing an “infrastructure of care” – understanding the institutional remnants and socio-technical practices that constitute South Africa’s Covid-19 response. Urban Geography.
- Ravindran T (2020) When a pandemic intensifies racial terror. The politics of COVID-19 control in Bolivia. City.
- Söderström O (2020) The three modes of existence of the pandemic city. Urban Geography.
- Vilenica A, McElroy E, Ferreri M, et al. (n.d.) Covid-19 and housing struggles: The (re)makings of austerity, disaster capitalism, and the no return to normal. Radical Housing Journal 2(1): 09–28.
Newspaper and magazine articles
- Baker PC (2020) ‘We can’t go back to normal’: how will coronavirus change the world? The Guardian.
- Clapp J (2020) Covid-19 is a wake-up call for Toronto to act on housing and homelessness. Spacing Toronto.
- Edwards Z (2021) Racial Capitalism and COVID-19. Monthly Review.
- Evelyn K (2020) ‘It’s a racial justice issue’: Black Americans are dying in greater numbers from Covid-19. The Guardian.
- Jabali M (2020) Coronavirus policing leads to harsher repercussions for black Americans. The Guardian.
- Klein N (2020) Coronavirus Capitalism: How to Beat it. The Intercept_.
- Klein N (2020) How big tech plans to profit from the pandemic. The Guardian.
- Levitz E (2020) Why Humanity Will Probably Botch the Next Pandemic, Too. New York Magazine.
- Lorek N (2020) Sweden still hasn’t locked down. But normal life is a luxury for only a few. National Geographic.
- Madden D (2020) Our cities only serve the wealthy. Coronavirus could change that. The Guardian.
- McGreal C (2020) The inequality virus: how the pandemic hit America’s poorest. The Guardian.
- Monplaisir S (2020) Coronavirus Pandemic Exposes Rio’s Longstanding Water and Sanitation Issues. RioOnWatch.
- Morozov E (2020) The tech ‘solutions’ for coronavirus take the surveillance state to the next level. The Guardian.
- No Author (2020) Covid-19 might not change cities as much as previous pandemics. The Economist.
- Palma RAL (2020) The COVID-19 pandemic is also an urban planning issue — especially in Manila. CNN Philippines.
- Safi M (2020) Coronavirus will reshape our cities – we just don’t know how yet. The Guardian.
- Shenker J (2020) Cities after coronavirus: how Covid-19 could radically alter urban life. The Guardian.
- Srivastava K and Yardimci Ö (2020) Everyday Activism amid the Pandemic: Civic Associations as Avenues of Hope for the Marginalized. Antipode Online.
- Visontay E (2020) Sensor taps and no door handles: Covid-19 shows it’s time to rethink public toilets. The Guardian.
- Wainwright O (2020) Smart lifts, lonely workers, no towers or tourists: architecture after coronavirus. The Guardian.
- Yates M (2020) COVID-19, Economic Depression, and the Black Lives Matter Protests. Will the Triple Crisis Bring a Working-Class Revolt in the United States? Monthly Review.
- Ware JP, Lobos J, Carrano E (2020) Una proposta per ripensare le nostre città. Internazionale.
In Portuguese (em português):
- Monplaisir S (2020) Pandemia de Coronavírus Expõe Problemas de Água e Saneamento do Rio. RioOnWatch.
- Muniz B, Fonseca B and Pina R (2020) Número de negros mortos por coronavírus é cinco vezes maior no Brasil. Agência Pública.
- Sousa Silva E and Marinho D (2020) Nas favelas, até a pandemia de coronavírus é invisível. El País.
- Balaguer Rasillo X, Berndt C, Herrigel J, Keller M, Schwiter K, Steiner J, Stingl I, Wiederkehr C and Wirth M (2020) The impact of Covid-19 from an economic geography perspective. Department of Geography, UZH.
- Berry C, Macfarlane L, Nanda S (2020) Who wins and who pays? Rentier power and the Covid crisis. The IPPR Centre for Economic Justice.
- Brink E (2020) Reflections on what the coronavirus pandemic could mean for the favelas in Brazil. Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS)
- Cervinkova H (2020) Citizenship after COVID‐19: thoughts from Poland. Forum on COVID‐19 Pandemic.
- Datta A (2020) COVID19 may be an urban crisis, but India’s small cities will be its ‘collateral damage’. Learning from Small Cities.
- Fèvre E and Tacoli C (2020) Coronavirus threat looms large for low-income cities. International Institute for Environment and Development.
- Fletcher R, Mas I M, Blázquez-Salom M and Blanco-Romero A (2020) Tourism, Degrowth, and the COVID-19 Crisis. Pollen.
- Forsyth A (2020) What role do planning and design play in a pandemic? Ann Forsyth reflects on COVID-19’s impact on the future of urban life. Harvard University Graduate School of Design.
- Freshour C and Williams B (2020) Abolition in the Time of Covid-19. Antipode Online.
- Garcia E (2020) How to mitigate the impact of an epidemic and prevent the spread of the next viral disease: A guide for designers. Harvard University Graduate School of Design.
- Halvorsen S, Richmond M and Marzi S (2020) The uneven geographies of Covid-19 in Latin America. Geography Directions.
- Höjdestrand T (2020) Corona: Anthropology About a Pandemic Panel Discussion of the Swedish Anthropological Association (SANT). kritisk etnografi – Swedish Journal of Anthropology
- Kallis G, Paulson S, D’Alisa G and Demaria F (2020) The case for degrowth in a time of pandemic. OpenDemocracy.
- Keil R, Connolly C and Ali SH (2020) Outbreaks like coronavirus start in and spread from the edges of cities. The Conversation.
- Klaus I (2020) Pandemics Are Also An Urban Planning Problem. Citylab.
- Krinsky J and Caldwell H (2020) New York City’s Movement Networks: Resilience, Reworking, and Resistance in a Time of Distancing and Brutality. Open Democracy.
- Lancione M and Simone AM (2020) Bio-austerity and solidarity in the covid-19 space of emergency – Episode One. Society + Space.
- Lancione M and Simone AM (2020) Bio-austerity and solidarity in the covid-19 space of emergency – Episode Two. Society + Space.
- Lawanson T (2020) Lagos’ size and slums will make stopping the spread of COVID-19 a tough task. The Conversation.
- Marr S and Mususa P (2020) Can marginalised urban communities face Covid-19 without state support? Corona Times.
- Nieuwenhuijsen MJ (2020) COVID-19 and the City: How is the Pandemic Affecting Urban Health? IS Global. Barcelona Institute for Global Health.
- Novakovic S (2020). Will COVID-19 Spell the End of Urban Density? Don’t Bet On It. Azure.
- Ortiz C and Boano C (2020) ‘Stay at Home’: Housing as a pivotal infrastructure of care? The Bartlett Development Planning Unit, UCL.
- Stafford R, Croker A and Jones P (2020) After coronavirus. The Ecologist.
- Tulumello S (2021) Intervention – The ‘Outdoor’ Paradox: Public Policies and Scientific Evidence during the Covid-19 Pandemic in Portugal. Antipode Online
- Wallace R, Liebman A, Chaves LF and Wallace R (2020) COVID-19 and Circuits of Capital. Monthly Review
- Weinstein L (2020) Introduction: The Spatiality of Street Protests before and during Covid-19. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research
- Wilkinson A (2020). The impact of COVID-19 in informal settlements. Are we paying enough attention? Cities Alliance.
- Cavallero L and Gago V (2020) Debito e violenza proprietaria. EuroNomade.
- Karrer F (2020) Riflessioni sulla necessaria riforma urbanistica. Ingenio.
- Pirone M (2020) Politiche della pandemia. Neoliberismo, riproduzione sociale e tecnopolitica. EuroNomade.
In Portuguese (em português):
- Castro A (2020) 3 Mapas sobre a Mortalidade do Covid-19 no Brasil. Rede Urbana.
- Tulumello S (2020). Nem todos os bairros são iguais face à pandemia. Associação para o direito à moradia e à cidade.
In Spanish (en español):
- Castro A (2020) Respuesta a la pandemia de COVID-19 en poblaciones urbano-marginales y rurales en América Latina | PNUD en América Latina y el Caribe. UNDP.
In Swedish (på svenska):
- Abdullahi S (2020) DEBATT: Coronadöden har tagit många av mina vänner. Expressen.se
- Anaya S (2020) Enkät: Så vill vi att bostadsmarknaden organiseras #EfterCorona – Kontext. Kontext
- Jakobsson K, Hansson E, Albin M, Al Nahar L, Hogstedt C. (2020). Erbjud hotell till personer i riskgrupper som bor trångt. Göteborgs Post
- Pahnke E (2020) Enkät: Så vill vi att arbetsmarknaden organiseras #EfterCorona – Kontext. Kontext.
Other archives, blogs or forums
- Boston Review. COVID-19 and the Color Line
- Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies. Postcolonial and Decolonial Perspectives on the Covid-19 Pandemic
- Lund University. Feminist Perspectives on Covid-19
- Progressive Geographies. Geographers, sociologists, philosophers etc. on covid-19.
- UCL. The Bartlett Development Planning Unit. Post COVID-19 Urban Futures
- York University. York Left Consortium: Reflections on Capitalism’s Half-Life
- Ali SH and Keil R (2004) SARS and the Global City: Connectivity and Vulnerability in the “New Normal”. Working Paper, York University.
- Hannah M, Hutta JS and Schemann C (2020) Thinking Corona measures with Foucault. Working Paper, University of Bayreuth.
- Kitchin R (2020) Using digital technologies to tackle the spread of the coronavirus: Panacea or folly? Working Paper, Maynooth University.
- Akallah J and Huchzermeyer M (2020) Dark Clouds over Informal Settlements II: Responses to the Pandemic (AfterCorona #6). Urban Political Podcast
- Rajan A (2020) Cities. Rethink
- Rogers D (2020) Listening to the city in a global pandemic. City Road Podcast
- Jenkins W (host) (2020) Covid-19 and the City: Centres and Peripheries CITY Institute, York University.