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How will city living change post-pandemic?

Q&A with Viktoria Walldin, White Architects

Q&A with Viktoria Walldin

In our Aritco Talk – New ways of living set demands on future cities the topic is about how the pandemic has changed the game. Viktoria Walldin, Anthropologist at White Arkitekter discussed topics as how new ways of living are setting other demands on our homes. We got a chance to ask Victoria a few questions.

How has the pandemic changed the way we plan and build cities?

Viktoria: Densification was an important factor in urban planning for many years, but as health and sustainability have become key issues for people living in cities, public realm has become a major focus. We need cities that are less densely populated with spaces where we can meet easily and safely.

How is technology shaping the city of the future?

Digitisation has transformed urban planning as the volume of data has made it much easier to undertake quantitative research into what people want and need from a city. It has also exposed the inequalities in our society as not everyone has been able to afford the technology to work or study from home during the pandemic.

Photo below: Anders Bobert

 

The pandemic has accelerated many societal trends. What will be the enduring legacies for the urban built environment?

How we work will change for good. The role of the office has been in question for quite a while, but it will not disappear completely. Following the principles of the co-working space, it will become a hub for collaboration and we will continue to work from home much of the time. Offices will be smaller, and at ground level – lots of office space on higher floors will be converted into residential.

How will the demographics of the city change?

There are two schools of thought – the first is that many more people will move to the countryside and the second is that people will return to the city once the pandemic is over. We believe that the exodus will continue. Two years ago we already noticed that more people were moving out of Stockholm than were moving into the city. This will increase as remote working becomes the norm and you can live a better, cheaper and more sustainable life in rural areas where you have more space and can grow your own food.

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