The City of the Quarter of an Hour
During the pandemic, remote working has become “a must ” everywhere, and many companies plan to keep it that way. This reintegration of work and home threatens one of the cornerstones of the industrial age: the Central Business Districts.
Nowadays, workers won’t return to the cubicles of their old offices and those towers could be transformed into the affordable housing that will be so much needed after the pandemic.
Non-work activities have also been transformed. Restaurants, entertainment, and fitness are increasingly moving outdoors, occupying a space that was once designated for cars. The pandemic is creating prototypes for a permanently post-automobile, human-centered city. Cities are approaching the concept of a “quarter of an hour city”, where the main daily activities – including work, school, and shopping – can be carried out within walking distance or a few rides from home.
The pandemic has unlocked growing potential for neighborhood revival – what economist Joseph Schumpeter famously called “creative destruction” on an urban scale. The crisis has left governments with little choice but to take a quick, trial-and-error approach. The extraordinary innovations that have emerged in pedestrianization, affordable housing, and dynamic zoning highlight the power of positive feedback circuits.