Rethinking infrastructure and cities for a Covid-19 world: A UKCRIC prospectus

UKCRIC sets out its approach to managing the impacts of the pandemic as it relates to infrastructure and cities research
Rethinking infrastructure and cities for a Covid-19 world: A UKCRIC prospectus
UKCRIC Coordination Node Manager (University of Birmingham)

Today marks the release of UKCRIC’s prospectus on rethinking infrastructure and cities for a Covid-19 world. This report sets out our approach to managing the impacts of the pandemic as it relates to infrastructure and cities research. You can download it here.

This prospectus captures the outcome of UKCRIC’s efforts to bring into focus the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on the UK’s infrastructure and its cities, and to begin to understand how we might use our reaction to the pandemic to do things better. This thinking is encapsulated in three principles:

  1. Create systems-level benefits and resilience
  2. Strengthen existing priorities
  3. Plan the transition

The prospectus recommends actively planning for a ‘new normal’ by:

  • repurposing the physical environment, redistributing demand and creating flexibility;
  • making density and distance allies; and,
  • developing new urban business models.

Seven ‘spotlights’ reflect upon the principles within the context of infrastructure and cities sectors, demonstrating the scale and complexity of the challenges we face, and providing guidance on the way forward.

  1. Water
  2. Energy
  3. Waste management
  4. Transport and travel
  5. Buildings
  6. Construction
  7. Demand and supply chains

The principles, and the thinking behind them, have featured in BBC Radio 4’s Costing the Earth programme on the impacts of Covid-19 on car-free cities*; are informing Local Authority recovery plans; and, are influencing the UK House of Lords Committee on Covid-19 consultation Life beyond Covid and the UK Parliament Business Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee consultation Industrial Strategy: growing an inclusive, sustainable economy which delivers for the whole United Kingdom.

Our intention is for this prospectus to encourage debate and advance the associated discourses around infrastructure and cities. However, it is inevitably a product of the knowledge available at the time of writing. As that knowledge is changing rapidly, it is not our intention for this document to be static and if you have thoughts or comments we invite you to contribute by emailing us at hello@ukcric.com.

UKCRIC is planning complementary activities to generate new insights; plugging into other, similar initiatives and cultivating collaborative relationships with those in positions to facilitate change. If you would like to find out more about our activities, please get in touch with us at hello@ukcric.com.

* If you are interested in car-free cities, you may like The Little Book of Car Free Cities from the Liveable Cities research programme, which also features in Costing the Earth.

Image credit: Ross Sneddon via Unsplash