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COVID-19 impact on city and region: what’s next after lockdown?

Myounggu Kang, Yeol Choi, Jeongseob Kim, Kwan Ok Lee, Sugie Lee, In Kwon Park, Jiyoung Park and Ilwon Seo

International Journal of Urban Sciences, 2020, vol. 24, issue 3, 297-315

Abstract: COVID-19 is unique in that it is spread through everyday contact with other people. Therefore, social protective measures, beyond medical protective measures, such as social distancing, lockdowns, border closures, and human tracing are initiated to control the spread of COVID-19. Such responses have produced secondary issues such as drastic changes in people’s way of life and work, housing instability, economic shock, and privacy issues. This paper examines the four domains of urban and regional issues related to the secondary impact of COVID-19, including (1) social distancing, urban structure, community, and density; (2) housing affordability; (3) lockdowns, border closures, reshoring, and regional economic recovery; and (4) smart city technology, contact tracing, and privacy. The following six recommendations have been proposed. First, institutional and cultural factors are more important than urban features, such as population density. To handle infectious diseases such as COVID-19, it is important to build systems, technology, infrastructure, and urban structures that can strengthen resilience instead of implementing a directionless policy of dispersion. Second, it is necessary to improve accessibility to essential services at the community level, including medical facilities and food supply. Third, continuous effort should be made to boost housing affordability, as it is directly related to people’s basic life. Fourth, measures are needed to protect those people who are socioeconomically disadvantaged. There is also the need to restore global trade and economic relations. Fifth, since data technology-based COVID-19 control raises the human tracing and privacy issue, we must ensure the principles of privacy management, such as transparency and voluntary consent, are being met. Finally, since COVID-19 is spread through people, individuals may become anxious and fearful of others without grounds; this may increase prejudice and hatred, including xenophobia. Significant social effort is needed to overcome such ill-defined anxiety and fear and maintain a healthy civil society.

Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1080/12265934.2020.1803107

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International Journal of Urban Sciences is currently edited by Dongjoo Park and Mack Joong Choi

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