Is Sprawl an Effective Solution for Pandemics?

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Is Sprawl an Effective Solution for Pandemics?

Dave @ Building Bull City
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mjp
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Re: Is Sprawl an Effective Solution for Pandemics?

mjp
If density was the problem, then Singapore, Hong Kong, and South Korea would have far more cases and deaths than at present. Absent progressive action to identify and isolate cases, density can certainly exacerbate the spread as seen in NYC. But it can also facilitate rapid mobilization of resources as shown in those other places. Time will tell if they can stay on top of the spread but any analysis saying density is dead is premature.
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Re: Is Sprawl an Effective Solution for Pandemics?

Dave @ Building Bull City
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Agreed. I hope the masses understand this.

I worry because density is a factor and the general public doesn't really do nuance and tradeoffs, so if the narrative continues to center around density, we could see some bad policies in various places.

I can almost guarantee this will be another tool in the NIMBY toolbox. I can't wait to hear it referenced in my neighborhood listserv.
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Re: Is Sprawl an Effective Solution for Pandemics?

LisaMason
This post was updated on .
In reply to this post by Dave @ Building Bull City
“There is a density level in NYC that is destructive,”  tweeted on Sunday, after similar comments at one of his daily press briefings. He’d seen New Yorkers out in parks together, behaving as if this were a normal sunny spring weekend, and he was dismayed. Togetherness itself could now be deadly.

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Re: Is Sprawl an Effective Solution for Pandemics?

Dave @ Building Bull City
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This feels dangerous. If the prevailing sentiment after the pandemic is "we should spread out - maybe we should use zoning to further restrict density for the sake of public health", then we could be in for reversion to pretty terrible development patterns.

I THINK there is enough opposition to this viewpoint that it will blow over and be fine. But I don't know for sure.
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Re: Is Sprawl an Effective Solution for Pandemics?

Mitch
Considering that the countries worst affected tend to be less dense than those that are less affected, there may be reason to believe that higher density can helpful as well as harmful. Higher density allows for more efficient deployment and coordination of resources and information, and so may make implementation of a mitigation strategy easier, faster, and more effective. At the very least we know that density doesn't necessarily mean inevitable huge outbreaks, if we take dense Asian countries like South Korea as an example.

But I worry about the effect this may have too. The virus has made a lot of people nervous whenever passing someone in the stairwell or on the sidewalk. Even if we were able prove that density is actually a net positive in situations like these, people may not be able to be convinced (especially with how bad things were in NY and Boston at the outset). And then even if one was able to convince people and they accepted it logically, people may start to reflexively oppose any sort of increases in density in their immediate area as they associate being exposed to more people with a general sort of anxiety.
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Re: Is Sprawl an Effective Solution for Pandemics?

Dave @ Building Bull City
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Great points and I completely agree. When a story gets too complex or nuanced, we humans tend to want to boil it down (I'm sure I do this too with areas in life that I am less informed or have less contact with).

I have to imagine that "density is bad". Is the simple message that is likely to come out of this since it makes intuitive sense and is very simple. Once you start talking about access to resources as a competing force that must be weighed, you lose people.

And yes, people may just have a gut reaction of anxiety as you mentioned. It may be another toolbox in the NIMBY arsenal. "Yes, density is great, just not for my neighborhood"