Cities have strong identities and a capacity for innovation, evident in the concept of the ‘15-minute city’ associated with Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo. If anything, they will become more attractive if (admittedly a big if) they continue to squeeze out cars, housing becomes cheaper as part of a rebalancing, and jobs in suburbs not just centres make commuting less difficult and expensive.
COVID-19 looks set to shape places and the people that inhabit them for many years to come. It has given a fresh edge to long-running concerns which had already prompted the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda, the productivity and sustainability of our urban centres, and their political and fiscal governance. There are huge challenges ahead but, with them, opportunities too – one radical, possible future is greener, less unequal, cities.