A+U — “Architecture, Hope, & COVID-19: Jeanne Gang”

Jeanne Gang

Architecture + Urbanism Magazine (a+u)
Digital Commentary Series: Architecture, Hope, & Covid-19



What roles can architects, planners, and urban designers play in creating hope during, and beyond, this difficult time? For the inaugural installment of A+U's Digital Commentary Series, Jeanne Gang writes about the urgency for designers and others to recommit to creating mutually beneficial relationships between urban density and biodiverse nature, and how planning for both can strengthen the future health and resilience of our communities.

"As the coronavirus pandemic has spread, many of us city dwellers have renewed our appreciation for the natural world and our desire to be part of it. The ability to spend time outdoors enjoying the weather, listening to birdsong, and observing seasonal surges of growth has in many ways never felt more precious. This visceral reminder that we humans need nature arrives at a critical moment. The renewed awareness it brings can help spark a new era of care and protection for the natural environment, but at the same time, we also worry that—in combination with the pandemic—it could inspire a desire for distance from the city. Could the hunger for nature lure residents away from urban environments altogether? Giving up on the city and sprawling outward will only exacerbate climate change and increase damage to crucial ecosystems just when our planet needs them most.

It is therefore urgent for designers and others to underscore that urban density and biodiverse nature are not mutually exclusive—they are mutually beneficial, and planning for both can critically strengthen the future health and resilience of our communities."

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