COVID-19

Architecture, the City, and Urban Life


Recent Contributions

Salama, A. M., Reproducing Architecture and Urbanism in the Midst of a Pandemic Condition, International Conference on Architecture and Urbanism in the Age of Planetary Crisis

Ecodemia, London, 24 October 2020,

Reproducing Architecture and Urbanism in the Midst of a Pandemic Condition.

This talk expands the discourse about the potential contribution of architecture and urban design and planning in generating knowledge that responds to pressing questions about the current and post pandemic condition. While I have instigated initial ideas and responses since April 2020, it is increasingly evident that the global pandemic is altering the way we think about and use the spatial environment at various scales. This warrants a continuous discussion on what the implications of disease spread are for architectural and urban research, education and practice. The implications of the pandemic for architects and urban planners appear to be wide and far reaching and are already reshaping architectural research and education and the overall discourse. Looking ahead to the post-pandemic architecture and urbanism, architecture and urbanism as academic disciplines and professions that influence, in many different ways, individuals, communities, and societies, can support efforts through: developing new insights into the impact of a pandemic on cities and urban environments now and in the future; developing new understandings relevant to the characteristics of urban spaces which ensue from these insights; conducting research to comprehend the socio-spatial implications of COVID-19 measures and guidelines introduced by governments and authorities to fight the spread of the disease; identifying new conceptions related to emerging lifestyles which stem from the new spatial environments that integrate working and living patterns; and ultimately developing design responses towards creating healthy environments that successfully accommodate the infected populations while addressing the associated social and psychological ramifications. While the talk embeds several lines of inquiry framed to address the pandemic condition now and in the future, it offers an outlook on the reproduction of architecture and urbanism in the midst of this condition.

Educating Architects in a Post-Pandemic World, Ashraf M. Salama & Michael J. Crosbie.

The Covid-19 pandemic has raised a series of questions about the challenges facing the two-centuries-old canons of architectural education, their suitability to a post-pandemic digital world, and what the future of architectural education in the current university system might be.

In a period of less than three weeks, commencing in March, architecture schools around the world made significant decisions to shelve face-to-face learning in physical settings and move to a model in which online teaching and learning, collaboration, engagement and interaction, review and assessment, and celebrating student achievements are the only safe forms of group or collective activity. They were immediately challenged to do everything differently. The situation that schools are facing now, however, is not just a response to Covid-19. The model that has evolved over two centuries is changing within the space of a few weeks or months. Various reactions and responses to address this challenge are now in progress, within a very fluid scene. All of this remains a work in progress.

Ashraf M. Salama speaks to Mohammad Gharipour and Caitlin DeClercq, Founders of Epidemic Urbanism Initiative, on Architectural Education in the Post-COVID Era: Envisioning New Opportunities and Implications.

In this discussion, Professor Ashraf Salama (University of Strathclyde) contextualizes the recent and sudden shift of architectural education to online formats in broader, decades-long changes observed by William Mitchell and Manuel Castells; reflects on the unique challenges of this shift to architectural pedagogy, studio culture, and student motivation and community-building; highlights specific practices that resulted in a largely successful (if stressful and imperfect) shift to online education; and advocates the need to embrace and identify opportunities opened up for and by architectural education in a post-COVID era that will almost certainly be characterized by constant change and flux. Ultimately, Dr. Salama demonstrates how the shift to online education and the current global COVID-19 pandemic pose important opportunities for re-examining pedagogy and curricula, embracing transdisciplinary collaboration and action, and emphasizing person-environment relationships in design pedagogy and practice.

Emerald Podcast Series: Daniel Ridge speaks with Ashraf Salama, about the role of architecture and urban planning in the context of the global pandemic.

The global pandemic has changed the way we use the spaces around us, particularly how we operate in public, whether it be at the grocery store or the workplace. We join Ashraf Salama (University of Strathclyde, UK) to ask what the implications of disease spread are for architectural education and research.

In this episode, Daniel speaks with Ashraf Salama, Professor of Architecture at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow about the role of architecture and urban planning in the context of the global pandemic. In rethinking how we use public and private spaces under the current conditions, Professor Salama looks ahead to the Post-Covid-19 city. What will the workplace look like? What about city centres, or our homes that that have been transformed into workplaces? The implications of the pandemic for architects and urban planners are wide and far reaching and are already reshaping architectural research and education.

Key Questions addressed in this episode:

  • What are the main issues that architects and urban planners must address in the face of Covid-19?

  • What are the long-term effects of how we interact with spatial environments post-pandemic?

  • What are the negative and positive consequences of the “new normal” as they become the “actual normal?”

  • How will urban planners rethink travel and transportation in the post-pandemic city?

  • What does retrofitting mean to our relationship with existing buildings and how will it shape our lives?

  • What role do architects and urban planners play in developing informal settlements like those in Rio de Janeiro and Mumbai?

  • How do architects take a transdisciplinary approach to urban development?

  • How is architectural education changing as it looks ahead to the post COVID-19 city?


Read full transcript here: https://www.emeraldgrouppublishing.com/architecture-urban-design-post-covid-19-city-transcript

Salama, A. M. (2020). After Coronavirus: How Seasonal Migration and Empty Centres Might Change Our Cities, The Conversation - United Kingdom, 15 June 2020.

After coronavirus: how seasonal migration and empty centres might change our cities?

The changes to urban space brought by the coronavirus have many people asking what the post-pandemic city might look like

as people may continue to avoid crowds for fear of becoming ill and more are able to work from home, will more people leave high-density cities for peripheral or rural areas? After all, research shows that the spread of COVID-19 has been linked to urban density.

On the other hand, high density may not necessarily be a public health issue. The cities of Singapore and Hong Kong have higher densities than New York and London, but have managed to control the virus spread through aggressive management actions. These include early testing and extensive tracing of cases rather than full isolation or quarantining.

The long-term pattern of increasing urbanisation, existing high urban density and the economic and cultural benefits of urban life suggests that we will not see a large-scale exodus from cities to rural areas. However, the pandemic may trigger patterns of relocation to lower density areas within the city or its peripheries.

The post-pandemic city will need to employ urban solutions that enable people to socialise, work and live without extremely high densities, while balancing urban compactness and urban sprawling.


Read full article here: https://theconversation.com/after-coronavirus-how-seasonal-migration-and-empty-centres-might-change-our-cities-139439

The webinar series of ADA - Architecture, Design, Art Magazine: Do You Know Your City - Social Disconnect and Discontent.

ADA - Architecture, Design, Art Magazine, Online, 24 July 2020.

<<< Beyond the Stable State!

Invited Speaker: UMAR: Post-Covid 19 Adaptive Strategies in the Mediterranean, From the New Normal to the Stable State: Navigating Urban Form and Urban Life Dialectics in a Post Pandemic Virtual World.

Rome, Italy, Online, June 2020.


Inhabiting the City >>>

Invited Speaker: Covid-19 Multidisciplinary Challenges & Practices, Helwan University, Inhabiting Post-Covid-19 City and the Emergence of New Socio-Behavioral Patterns.

Cairo, Egypt, Online, June 2020.

Covid 19 Public Space Talk Series, URDC, Eastern Mediterranean University, Cyprus. The Spatiality of the Social, Implications in Architecture and Urbanism.

URDC, EMU, Cyprus, Online, 29 May 2020.

The Spatiality of the Social, Implications in Architecture and Urbanism.

Covid 19 Public Space Talk Series,

URDC, Eastern Mediterranean University, Cyprus. The Spatiality of the Social, Implications in Architecture and Urbanism.

Urban Research and Development Center, Eastern Mediterranean University, Cyprus, Online.


Watch on YouTube

Attilio Petruccioli Interviews Ashraf Salama on the Impact Coronavirus on Middle Eastern Cities.

Bibliotheca Orientalis, Bari - Italy and Glasgow - UK, 20 May 2020.

Attilio Petruccioli Interviews Ashraf Salama on the Impact of Coronavirus on Middle Eastern Cities.

As many cities in the world are still under lockdown, we wonder about our future urban everyday life. We asked Prof. Ashraf M. Salama how the pandemic has affected the way we experience architecture and the urban space. What will be the challenges that future architects and city planners will have to take on?

(Italian):Mentre molte città nel mondo sono ancora in lockdown, cerchiamo di immaginarci come sarà la nostra vita quotidiana futura. Abbiamo parlato con il Prof. Ashraf M. Salama di come la pandemia abbia cambiato il nostro modo di percepire l'architettura e gli spazi urbani. Quali saranno le sfide che gli architetti e gli urbanisti dovranno affrontare?


Watch on YouTube

Michael Crosbie Interviews Ashraf Salama on possible outcomes in a post-coronavirus world - "How Might the COVID-19 Change Architecture and Urban Design?"

Common\Edge, New Orleans, Louisiana, 7 May 2020.

In the wake of the global pandemic crisis, there’s been speculation about how architecture, urban planning, and design might be permanently affected. Ashraf M. Salama, a professor at the Department of Architecture, University of Strathclyde, in Glasgow, Scotland, and the director of the Cluster for Research in Architecture and Urbanism of Cities in the Global South, has been following how these disciplines might be changing. He’s recently written a publicly peer-reviewed paper on some of his findings: “Coronavirus Questions That Will Not Go Away: Interrogating Urban and Socio-Spatial Implications of COVID-19 Measures.” I sat down with Salama to discuss some of the issues he raises, and what their implications might be for the built environment in the future.

  • Is this pandemic making density deadly? Or is that too simplistic a critique of urban environments and the pandemic’s impact?

  • Policies on social distancing appear to be in conflict with what we’ve learned from people like anthropologist Edward T. Hall, who wrote about personal distances between people, what is socially acceptable, and how it’s shaped by cultural norms. Do you think this pandemic could have impacts on our perceptions of comfortable social distances, and might these impacts be permanent?

  • What do you suppose the impacts of social distancing might be on how public spaces are conceived, perceived, and used, how they are expected to function, and how people will act in them?

  • You note that biophilic design might become a stronger design determinant. Why so, and how might that happen?

  • Do you think public and personal health issues and policies might become more of a design determinant in the future?

  • As an architectural educator, how might this global crisis affect curriculum content, emphasis, and how we educate future architects and planners?


Read full article here: https://commonedge.org/how-might-the-covid-19-pandemic-change-architecture-and-urban-design/

Initial Responses Beyond the New Normal: Architecture and Urbanism in a Post Pandemic Virtual World, PhD. Online Seminar Series, Department of Architecture, University of Strathclyde.

Architecture&Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, UK, 4 May 2020.

Initial Responses Beyond the New Normal: Architecture and Urbanism in a Post Pandemic Virtual World.

As part of the series of Doctoral and Postgraduate Research Seminars organised by the Department of Architecture, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow UK, the second successful online meeting has been organised on 4th May 2020.

Chaired by Prof. Branka Dimitrijevic.The meeting included a presentation by Professor Ashraf M. Salama, entitled "initial responses beyond the new normal: architecture and urbanism in a post pandemic virtual world" that explored potential contributions of architecture and allied disciplines to the post pandemic era. The seminar was chaired by Prof. Branka Dimitrijevic.

The primary objective of this presentation is to instigate a discourse about the potential contribution of architecture and urban design and planning in generating knowledge that responds to pressing questions about future considerations of post pandemic architecture and urbanism. Architecture and urbanism as academic disciplines and professions that influence, in many different ways, individuals, communities, and societies, can support efforts through: developing new insights into the impact of a pandemic on cities and urban environments now and in the future; developing new understandings relevant to the characteristics of urban spaces which ensue from these insights; conducting research to comprehend the socio-spatial implications of COVID-19 measures and guidelines introduced by governments and authorities to fight the spread of the disease; identifying new conceptions related to emerging lifestyles which stem from the new spatial environments that integrate working and living patterns; and ultimately developing design responses towards creating healthy environments that successfully accommodate the infected populations while addressing the associated social and psychological ramifications. The highly contagious coronavirus and the rapid spread of COVID-19 disease have generated a global public health crisis, which is being addressed at various local and global scales through social distancing measures and guidelines. This is coupled with debates about the nature of living and working patterns through intensive utilisation of information and telecommunication technologies, leading to the social and institutional acceptability of these patterns as the ‘new normal.’


See selected slides here Academia - Initial Responses Beyond the New Normal, Ashraf Salama

Salama A. M. (2020), Coronavirus questions that will not go away: interrogating urban and socio-spatial implications of COVID-19 measures [version 1; peer review: 3 approved]. Emerald Open Research 2020, 2:14.

Coronavirus questions that will not go away: interrogating urban and socio-spatial implications of COVID-19 measures.

The highly contagious coronavirus and the rapid spread of COVID-19 disease have generated a global public health crisis, which is being addressed at various local and global scales through social distancing measures and guidelines. This is coupled with debates about the nature of living and working patterns through intensive utilisation of information and telecommunication technologies, leading to the social and institutional acceptability of these patterns as the ‘new normal.’ The primary objective of this article is to instigate a discourse about the potential contribution of architecture and urban design and planning in generating knowledge that responds to pressing questions about future considerations of post pandemic architecture and urbanism. Methodologically, the discussion is based on a trans-disciplinary framework, which is utilised for conceptual analysis and is operationalized by identifying and discoursing design and planning implications. The article underscores relevant factors; originates insights for areas where future research will be critically needed, through key areas: a) Issues related to urban dynamics are delineated from the perspective of urban and human geography, urban design and planning, and transportation engineering; b) Questions that pertain to socio-spatial implications and urban space/ urban life dialectics stem from the field of environmental psychology; and c) Deliberations about new environments that accommodate new living/working styles supervene from ethnographical and anthropological perspectives. The article concludes with an outlook that captures key aspects of the needed synergy between architectural and urban education, research, and practice and public health in a post pandemic virtual and global world.

Keywords: Architecture, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Social Distancing, The Actual Normal, The New Normal, Urbanism, Virtual World

Salama, A. M. (2020). Coronavirus questions that will not go away: interrogating urban and socio-spatial implications of COVID-19 measures. Emerald Open Research - Sustainable Cities Gateway, 2, [14]. https://doi.org/10.35241/emeraldopenres.13561.1

Read full article here: https://emeraldopenresearch.com/articles/2-14/v1/pdf?article_uuid=36e67264-b3cc-43b0-a639-1a45c54cc990