Pandemic Highlights the Need for Smarter, More Adaptable Cities

May 14, 2020
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is creating a paradigm shift: we are on the cusp of a leapfrog into a new era of digitalisation. Article by Cedrik Neike, CEO, Siemens Smart Infrastructure.

The coronavirus pandemic is a new experience for every one of us. It has changed life as we know it—at work, at home and for public interactions. As some countries start to ease restrictions on public life, how can we go back to ‘normal’ while still maintaining social distancing and feeling safe? How do we manage crowded public spaces like shopping malls, cinemas and restaurants? How do we optimise safety in our offices and factories? More importantly, how do we avoid shutting down entire cities and countries when the next pandemic hits?

While the crisis raises many questions, it also forces us to reflect on how our cities can be more human-centric and resilient in the face of unforeseeable challenges. Many would argue there are very few, if any, human-centric cities in the world. Reasons for this include air pollution, poor urban planning and traffic congestion, to name a few. However, despite the chaos of the past months I am convinced there’s a silver lining—it is in adaptability. It is now clearer than ever that the main characteristic of our future cities needs to be adaptability. Here is why I believe so.

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