Toronto restaurant and pubs move their seating to the streets during pandemic. Photograph: Roozbeh Rokni.

Aki Ishida Publishes Article

Read Professor Aki Ishida’s paper “Imprints of an Invisible Virus: How Airborne Diseases Change Cities” in The Plan Journal. Her article explains the long term effects of COVID on the built environment.

Once a clinical cure for COVID-19 is found, which infection prevention practices – both social and spatial – might remain, and what long-term impacts will they leave? This article examines the interrelationships between airborne diseases, social practices, and the design of physical and digital infrastructures for cities. Historically, infectious diseases have left long-term imprints on cities, from plumbing to hospitals. Spatial practices to prevent infection, such as clear physical barriers and car-free streets for socializing, must be implemented with a close examination of impacts on the mental, social wellbeing of both individuals and the broader community. Prevention practices examined include the use of transparent barriers that separate and connect people, the increased use of open windows, the adaptation of sidewalks and roads for physically distant socializing, and spatial negotiation and trust-building that occur in public spaces. As cities make design and policy changes to protect their citizens from the invisible virus, what impacts will the physical, social, and policy changes have on comprehensive wellness and equity for all people?