Designing For A New Normal

d+a|Issue 116

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Designing For A New Normal
Architects share their thoughts on how the built environment will evolve in a post-covid-19, pandemic-threatened world.
Low Shi Ping


“As the home becomes more important and commercial real estate less in demand, developers may focus on producing new residential typologies with larger areas and connecting workspaces. Open plans will make way for more closed spatial forms of co-existence, where household members can retreat to.

Co-working spaces in residential areas will thrive, occupied by fixed groups of people who know each other’s health approach. Office buildings will transform into temporary meeting places. The shopping culture will strongly reduce and people will live quietly along Orchard Road. Outdoor public spaces where social distancing is easy, may become even more important, while inner-city life in malls, hawker centres, and theatres will be regulated on crowding.

Mass transport will evolve to encompass self-driving vehicles with a limited amount of passengers, which can be coupled into trains. These will deliver people to addresses on demand, eliminating the need for crowded buses or MRT platforms. Simultaneously, e-biking will become immensely popular, as everyone can use them. Hybrid e-bikes to transport goods or children will develop. As a result, the large surfaces of car-lanes on roads will turn into dedicated tracks for different kinds of low-tech, health-secure transport. E-vehicles will also deliver goods to homes, ordered by e-commerce, as well as drone-systems to deliver parcels.”

Prof. em. Kees Christiaanse Principal investigator, Future Cities Laboratory & Founding Partner, KCAP Architects&Planners


“The challenge in the planning of New Towns is to find the balance between what we would like to do post-COVID-19, and the availability of resources and competing needs, especially in land-scarce Singapore.

Transport infrastructure planning may see a fundamental change. With more people working remotely from home and commuting less on the roads, more new land allocation could go to green and open spaces. Trains and bus stations may need to be longer and wider so that commuters can space out. Airports may need isolation and healthcare facilities so that quarantine and treatments can take place within the airport, resulting in more effective containment.


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Issue 116