Do professional urbanists bear some responsibility for the precarious state of urban life right now—for pushing the idea that cities should be filled with start-ups and ‘innovation districts,’ and not prioritising public health, social welfare infrastructure, and housing justice?
Not trying to start an argument. Just thinking about how the ‘solutions’ and ‘innovations’ of gentrified urbanism are meaningless in a genuine social emergency, whereas boring non-innovative things—well-funded public hospitals, good public housing—are literally saving lives.
How much housing for relatively low-paid essential workers has been disappeared from Central London in recent decades and replaced with more profitable uses, which happen to be useless in this crisis?
From a 2016 @thercn report: “the spiralling cost of housing is directly contributing to the recruitment crisis faced by our region’s health service.” Nurses can’t afford to live in London. A massive problem pre-pandemic; an existential problem now. https://www.rcn.org.uk/london/-/media/royal-college-of-nursing/documents/publications/2016/july/better-homes-for-nurses.pdf?la=en [pdf]