the challenges of the pandemic to the city?

Ivan Medvedev: First, the city fades. It seems like everything we used to, paused, or scrolled in slow motion. Now, perhaps, felt this state. We read of the tragic statistics, poorly understood behavior of the virus, and the thought of one – when the insulation ends? But then the flywheel urban life will begin to rotate. And that, as in the previous century should spur the city to the invention of a new. For example, several outbreaks of cholera (1817, 1829, 1846, etc.) around the world spurred officials of major cities to begin the construction of aqueducts to deliver clean drinking water. In addition, to combat the disease developed underground system of sewage, garbage, elements of improvement of the streets, paving roads. For example, the much-loved London Victoria embankment is a “product” of the pandemic 1850-ies. Under it was paved drain, and later it became the UK’s first street with electric light. Yes, and about the need for parks and gardens as the “green lungs” of the city, began to speak more largely due to the epidemiological situation. We recently colleagues recalled the work of Frederick Olmsted. He designed dozens of Park systems and public spaces in the United States, including the famous Central Park of new York. Olmsted’s interest in this subject has intensified in particular after his family suffered from cholera.

Turns out, history shows that the health of residents and urban ecology in urban planning needs to come to the fore?

Ivan Medvedev: Yes, I hope that this debate will gain momentum. Let Masturbatorium last year was dedicated to health in Metropolitan areas, but otherwise these topics in the public field serves as a secondary. Especially when compared with the number of articles about the economy, energy efficiency, housing, communications and transport. It is easy to see in the subject of atmospheric pollution. When surveys are conducted on air quality in the city, his state, like many concerned residents. But any specific wishes is poorly formed, and the problem is indeed poisoning the life, it is not. I think this pyramid flip and reformat the current urban agenda. At least in the field of public health and a healthy lifestyle.

on the other hand, the coronavirus has weakened environmental problems. Except the city did not become clearer from the fact that emissions from industry have decreased?

Ivan Medvedev: I saw statistics on China in March, where because of the quarantine, the consumption of coal in power plants and the use of oil decreased by approximately tb. The volume of carbon dioxide emissions in China fell by 200 million tons, or 25 percent, equivalent to the annual emissions of Argentina, Egypt or Vietnam. Accordingly, the air quality there has improved. But the main question is not whether it is temporary. If after the lifting of restrictions will all return to the old paradigm, the big difference for urban ecology, I do not see. Because the ways of consumption of resources will remain the same.

you Need to take a new, more rigorous standards?

Ivan Medvedev: I Think so. In recent years, many developers and Industrialists formed a squeamish attitude to ecology and medicine. Constantly demanding to cancel insolation rules or trim sanitary-protective zone. I think there is also the need to update the discussion on the microclimate of buildings and facilities, “green” architecture and hygiene. And not to complain that the sanitary norms do not give to maximize the density or pour waste into the river.

A little too fond of high population density in large cities. Now, in your opinion, it will be seen as evil?

Ivan Medvedev: I Think that the supporters of this strategy, the pandemic will hit pretty hard. Why is the coronavirus spread like wildfire? Due to the huge congestion of people in a loose urban structure. It is called in science the “urban penalty” – if you concentrate a huge number of people in a limited area, receive accelerated transmission of infections. And he can’t go anywhere when you stay within the logic of house-building factories. But now all of a sudden remembered that such a model is contrary to medical recommendations.

And here particularly revealing of the Chinese Wuhan?

Ivan Medvedev: of Course, the spread of the coronavirus began at exactly the point where the crowds are thickest. Wuhan – a reference example of the construction possessed by the seal and skyscrapers. Just one flash, and the densely populated quarter turned into a classic Petri dish with a nutrient medium for colonies of microorganisms. Did you see the Chinese compounds? Directly urban Chernobyl in miniature – whole clusters of towers enclosed in a single enclosed area.

This should lead to decentralization of the city?

Ivan Medvedev: In some form, of course. Such a concept without end is discussed in urban planning, but full implementation in all areas of megacities them all the time something is missing. The last thing that was actively discussed before the coronavirus, the proposal of the mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo to transform Paris into the “city of a quarter of an hour” (ville du quart d”heure). To residents could satisfy all their needs and find a job literally ��aroga your home or nearby. Thus the French capital should be transformed into a set of neighborhoods-neighborhoods. This idea is not new, there are good examples of such neighborhoods in Copenhagen, Melbourne, Utrecht. But to realize it in a city like Paris, and even participatory budgeting, it would be superintense and even revolutionary. Maybe after the pandemic, this concept will have more fans and in the Russian cities, which is dominated by archaic structures.

We need other formats of urban development.

Ivan Medvedev: Yes, something more human. In the same China in the late 1970-ies there were enough blocks in the architectural style of shikumen – house and 2-3 storey Western-style courtyard. And they housed and small businesses, and schools. But today they are mostly demolished and replaced by skyscrapers. And that’s what it led to. In my opinion, now in the planning and development says a lot about the alleged “man in the middle”, “people – our greatest asset” and so on. But this should be the real content of the city of new humane ideology and, accordingly, the flexible formats of buildings that respond to her.

Pandemic disturbed urban entrepreneurs, the business suffers losses and predicted the collapse. It is dangerous for cities?

Ivan Medvedev: of Course, business needs a variety of state support. As well as people who have lost their jobs. But for some reason many forget the other side that the drop in demand is a risk, which is an integral part of the life of a businessman. The Civil code clearly stipulated that the business is independent, carried out at your own risk activity. It is normal that not every trade gives you profit, the counterparty may not perform its obligations, clients will prefer another provider. Anything can happen. And not all of these risks need to shift to someone else. The whole situation with city business it is obvious that some firms will not recover, but others, particularly online, needs to move. In addition, some areas the situation of the pandemic will clean that from the point of view of the development of the city rather benefit.

Not all will stay afloat?

Ivan Medvedev: Economists say that “a rising tide lifts all boats”. That is the excitement, the positive trends in the economy and allow inefficient businesses to be profitable and feel good at very low-quality product or service. Just because the flow of money and people in the congested town will be enough for everyone. But when “comes the tide”, it shows who is swimming naked. In other words, whose economic well-being in the city is not due to genuine request. Rent housing is one of the good examples.

Bad apartment at a high price?

Ivan Medvedev: of Course. We used that in the big cities, even “dead” housing snapped up like hot cakes. The landlord thinks he’s the king, he can impose horrific conditions in the contract, and the tenant – the weak side. It has no value, because in its place immediately climb the other. It – “distorted” market. In a balanced city, which takes into account different interests, in this form it should not exist. Or the field of event organization. I saw a huge number of “conferences” and “forums” when representatives of companies read press releases on a piece of paper and go to the buffet. Why would you want to spend and to waste resources? This fake employment. I believe the coronavirus here will act as the “forest doctor”. The first plan for the economy will extend the content of the service and the quality of the product, which is really necessary for citizens. Not just the fact that you came to the market in the era of overheating and sell something meaningless.

Now began to talk a lot about remote work. It will replace a traditional office presence?

Ivan Medvedev: of Course, it has its nuances. But let’s imagine the employee who is not required to stand at the machine. I believe that if we proceed from the content of the employment function, in many professions there is no need to keep a person in the office every day. And here 2-4 hours a day, which on average spent on the trip from home to work is definitely a huge city resource. Now he’s just burnt, as in the XIX century, but in the third Millennium, this time should be used smarter. Who wants to spend it on family, self-development, mental health, sport or hobby. And fans to work overtime and outside the office can prove to the chief your productivity.

are you Ready for the infrastructure?

Ivan Medvedev: of Course not. But it’s not a problem coronavirus. He just revealed what existed before him. We have the old-fashioned way resources are counted in one model, when the apartment is used for sleeping between shifts at the factory. In my area, the cases of a power outage, because the majority of tenants now find themselves at home. I lecture and seminars remotely, and, in General, a common occurrence when the middle of the report, the participants cut down communication or light. This shows that investments are required in infrastructure, which will provide us the opportunity quality work from the outside.

We are talking about a different type home than the apartment in apartment buildings?

Ivan Medvedev: some alternative needs to be clearly. The market was flooded with houses without balconies and the “20-meter Studio-Eurodesk”, but in our situation they are not Godea��Xia. Increase the demand for townhouses and suburban housing, where the area is more and it is possible to allocate the study. In urban planning theses on self-sufficient suburban areas and suburbs in recent years was underestimated. They were considered a relic of the forgotten utopias of the times the city-garden of Ebenezer Howard. But I guess it’s time to revisit these themes in the context of the impact of the epidemic. And not only in abstract theory but also to suggest appropriate changes in the national project “Housing and the urban environment” and the sectoral legislation. Especially since so many cities if Moscow did not take, there are different formats of the home.

what if I don’t want for the city?

Ivan Medvedev: Then in a typical “sleeping” area with apartment buildings need to diversify public spaces. Now they will routinely be used by a large number of people. The resident should be able to spend time “after work” or “lunch break” in the vicinity of their place of residence. Here, finally, we are waiting for the “boom” café, entertainment, neighborhood and cultural centers, interesting Hiking routes.

do You see the rise of city services or practices that were not available before the pandemic?

Ivan Medvedev: a Growing number of events and discussions on Internet sites, more collective action in the field of charity, went online in the first trial, the agreements signing on the electronic tablet. If specifically, I liked the temporary media that is made for the period of isolation, the creators of the festival “Art-Ovrag” in Vyksa. And loft Philharmonic Alice Kupravas launched instagram-esters. But the surprise is inertia, which is accompanied sooner: it took a disaster to the direction moved. Now supermarkets are investing more resources in online and contact-free delivery, universities hold conferences in Zoom with the participation of scientists from around the world to collect funds for cultural projects… Friends, and that hurt more to do so before the pandemic? No reasonable explanation of why this plan for the city stagnated, except laziness or habit to keep the status quo.

How the townspeople cope with the enforced solitude?

Ivan Medvedev: And with it the need to “cope”? Philosophically, Hannah Arendt would call it not loneliness, but solitude. On Russian language translated her latest work “Life of the mind”, and there, in General, welcomed this existential state. After all, in the privacy of you can finally relax and make the company itself, to find new sources of hope and inspiration. Of course, a natural human desire – to get back to “normal” life. But I recall that it was dependenices urban “norm” became�� platform, responsible for the spread of the virus.

How to change the character of urban life, when the pandemic is over?

Ivan Medvedev: City is an extremely adaptive organism that for centuries had adjusted to almost any external events. The coronavirus is no exception, I am sure that the city’s pandemic soon overcome it and develop immunity. From the point of view of the spatial structure of logical to wait for progress in the settlement system. If proximity to work will cease to be a factor influencing the choice of where to live, the attractiveness of the metropolis is reduced. We will be able to feel comfortable and in settlements of smaller size. Then decrease the likelihood of outbreaks because the density and number of contacts of the inhabitants of multiples will decrease.

What other areas do you consider the most promising?

Ivan Medvedev: would Like to advanced a positive agenda, which in urban planning spoke to the coronavirus, was continued. Justice, citizen participation, design, collaborative planning, city and gender, inclusiveness, a city for all ages and so Now they are almost disappeared from public knowledge by the media, if the TV is turned off. But it is important anyway to keep. And of course, we are waiting for a breakthrough in urban social relations. Enhance practices at the level of homes and communities. Ironically distancing made some of us closer than ever before. We have seen in social networks of different initiatives to support those who are most vulnerable during the lockdown. I think that self-help groups and other good deeds thrown the inhabitants among themselves and help them to overcome any difficulties. This creates a strong sense of solidarity as a collective whole instead of a agglomeration of disparate people.

Ivan Medvedev – candidate of legal Sciences, associate Professor Higher school of urban studies named after A. A. Vysokovsky, faculty of urban and regional development, HSE.

Born in 1983 in Moscow. He graduated from the Moscow state law Academy and the Institute of legislation and comparative law under the government of the Russian Federation. Worked in the Moscow Collegium of advocates “Mezhregion”, participated in a number of high profile court cases. In 2016 he teaches at the HSE the author’s discipline on the resolution of urban conflict, is engaged in research at the interface of urban planning and law. In 2017-2018, the Deputy Dean of the Higher school of urban studies and planning. The author of three monographs and of the course of lectures, expert of the international Lexus Design Award competition. Nominee of the government of Moscow for young scientists in the category “Science city”.