The Post-Pandemic Future of Microcities and Redefining Urbanization

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By Dominique Bonte | 1Q 2021 | IN-6048


Microcity Cluster Concept Challenged by COVID-19 but Here to Stay


Within cities, economic and social life is largely clustered in and around highly concentrated microcities, ranging from ports, airports, and international train stations to campuses, shopping malls, venues, and office parks. These form access points, focus areas, and hubs which collectively (a) define the city as a whole in terms of its structure and (b) function as magnets for the wider city context. 

This highly fragmented urban fabric comes with both benefits and drawbacks. While ultra-dense locations reduce the average environmental footprint per citizen and unit of economic activity—resulting in sustainable and potentially even circular economies— they also greatly strain the wider city’s resources in terms of high peak demands in energy, utilities, mobility, and other public services. The remaining, frequently disadvantaged urban areas are often left without basic services, resulting in inequality and failed inclusion strategies.

However, it is COVID-19 which has exposed microcities’ Achilles heel: their ultra-v…

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