This summer REVOLVE Magazine asked its readers to tell us about their ideas and feelings during and after the lockdown period. Everybody has been impacted by Covid-19 and each of us has changed our understanding of mobility and how we get around.
This was an extraordinary time, allowing us to reflect internally and on our relationships with others, as well as: our current behaviours; our past habits; things that we’ve taken for granted; and things that we’d like to do differently.
Here are five of the contributors who really touched the REVOLVE team with their will to embrace change.
Reclaiming the street from the overbearing car.
– Casimir Legrand
National lockdown measures and the consequent shift to working from home to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have drastically altered the demand for road space. Reduced vehicular traffic has enticed people, myself included, to take up walking, running, or cycling, but within a new arena—a serene and rarefied space—otherwise known as the street, reclaimed from the overbearing car.
As restrictions are gradually eased, it would be wonderful if road space in our neighborhoods could be permanently reallocated for pedestrians and cyclists to occupy and enjoy. For instance, back in May, the Mayor of London unveiled the “London Street space” program that has transformed London’s streets to accommodate a ten-fold increase in cycling and a five-fold increase in walking. Active mobility programs such as London’s have made us realize how dominated we have become by cars and how this simple fix can offer us affordable and healthy recreation, while contributing to the alleviation of pressure on public transport systems and improvement in air quality.
Reclaiming space is a starting point for establishing complete neighborhoods, best encapsulated in the vision of a 15-minute city. This concept, outlined by Carlos Moreno, Paris urbanist and professor at The Sorbonne, describes an urban way of life in which all residents would be able to achieve most of their needs and access essential services within a short walk or bike ride. The permanent reallocation of road space would simultaneously curb climate change, while making cities in our new normal more attractive places to live.