Outbreaks of communicable disease have a long history of changing cities for the better. London’s sewer network was constructed following the cholera epidemic in the 1850s, and building ventilation standards improved after the Spanish flu in 1918.
The current COVID-19 pandemic presents a similar whiteboard moment to accelerate the adoption of the best technology and infrastructure for modern cities. The smart city, a catch-all term used to describe how technology and data analytics can be harnessed to make cities more sustainable and efficient, is likely to have a profound influence on how policymakers and inhabitants reimagine urban spaces.