Physical distancing, children and urban health
Apostolos Kyriazis; Gregor Mews; Elisabeth Belpaire (et al.)
Published: September 2020
Journal: Cities & Health
In a time of unprecedented change and uncertainty due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, cities worldwide became the epicentre of the unfolding health drama. Questions related to the contemporary human condition, rate of urbanization and alternative socioeconomic frameworks that started to emerge over the course of the past decade, now seem to be more relevant than ever. Urban typologies such as public spaces are under pressure, as the measure of “social distancing” rapidly became a novel narrative. Within this narrative, children – while seemingly less affected medically – may actually be influenced more than expected, both physically and mentally, since their social and spatial developmental needs are different to those of adults. The Urban Health Community of Practice of ISOCARP offers a series of questions and critical reflections accompanied by a wide geographical, cultural and disciplinary array of examples from around the world regarding the spatial, social and physical effects of the current crisis on children and how this could provide valuable feedback on updating future urban planning policies. This is a first step towards a commonly expressed paradigm shift that embraces human and planetary health resilience, a new equilibrium for cities and natural systems and a new, more inclusive social model.