Published November 30, 2020
Daniel B. Hess, UB professor and chair of urban planning, is co-editor of a viewpoint series on the planning discipline’s response to a changed world, published this month by Town Planning Review (Liverpool University Press).
“As an editorial team we seized the moment to allow scholars to swiftly respond to this enormous set of changes to our lives – to document the immediate impacts, to explore implications for planning, to ruminate on future impacts of the virus, to consider how cities would need to change in the future, and to reflect upon how planners could and should respond,” the editorial team writes in their opening essay to the special issue, which is published by Liverpool University Press.
Hess is also among the featured authors in the viewpoint series. His piece, “Going dark: the post-pandemic transformation of the metropolitan retail landscape,” co-authored with Alex Bitterman, explores the darkening of brick-and-mortar retail and its impact on urban form and the built environment.
The origins of planning as a profession are tied to public health as a response to dire urban conditions as cities industrialized in the late 19th century. Prior to the onset of COVID-19, the discipline had already been re-engaging with health concerns, principally around non-communicable diseases and poor health outcomes associated with ‘obesogenic’ urban environments in contexts across the globe.
“The rapid re-engagement of planning scholars, and indeed the whole world, with communicable disease, shows how events and ‘conjunctures’ shape the focus and content of planning,” the editorial team continues.
The compilation of commentary, critique, reflection and action-oriented recommendations have been made available online ahead of print for the first time in the journal’s history. Topics covered include the pandemic’s immediate impacts on urban areas, adaptive responses within communities, and longer-term planning impacts.
The series was co-edited by Hess with Bertie Dockerill, Alex Lord, John Sturzaker and Olivier Sykes.
Hess has served as co-editor of Town Planning Review, a leading peer-reviewed urban planning journal, serves as a forum for communication between researchers and students, policy analysts and practitioners since 2018.