How ‘sticky’ is Covid-19?

This was the question members of our C:Lab initiative based in Hong Kong recently set out to answer.

They virtually brought together a group Buro Happold’s expert consultants and engineers, along with external guests, to participate in an experimental design sprint.

The group reflected on their personal experiences of the pandemic, thinking about what recent learnings we might want to keep and apply to our design and consulting. It was as much an exercise in capturing the zeitgeist as one of taking stock of how rapidly we adapted to changing circumstances. How many of the changes society has faced would, and should, realistically stick as we come out of this current phase of the pandemic. In essence, how sticky is Covid-19? 

We split into three groups, trying to reimagine our living, work, and public spaces and answer the following questions:

  • What will we want to keep?
  • What must we keep?
  • What will we want more of?
  • What will we want to get away from/get back to as quickly as possible?

A wide range of interesting thoughts and ideas were shared. Those of particular note in relation to a high-density urban centre such as Hong Kong were:

  • Multigenerational households are a common model in Hong Kong. In the future, there should be an allowance for the separation of spaces to differentiate the vulnerable elderly from the less disease-susceptible youth.
  • The closure of exercise spaces such as gyms and parks due to pandemic lockdowns forced fitness enthusiasts to get creative. In Hong Kong, with one of the highest concentrations of high-rise buildings in the world, this meant the quick conversion of outdoor rooftop space into fully functioning strength and conditioning studios servicing any number of movement-starved athletes.
  • Local Hong Kongers almost unanimously remarked at the clarity of the skies and air during the summer of 2020. Although anecdotal in nature, it is plausible to think that this was due to a reduction in transport and factory related emissions.

The full summary of the design sprint, which was part of a series held in the UK, India, and the Middle East, can be downloaded from the link below.

More from our C:Lab initiative

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