Yesterday I read an article in the Economist that shows how the centres of large cities have imploded since the start of the pandemic. Businesses have shut down and/or moved out or moved their workers home.

That has meant that the services that deliver people, goods, food, supplies and support to downtown organizations have been shattered or shuttered – perhaps not to be reopened if the workers aka customers do not return to the city core?

But in the suburbs, smaller cities and residential communities, versions of Starbucks, ready-made foods and Uber transportation are popping up like weeds along the sidewalk.

As I have contemplated the implications of this measurable trend, I am reminded of my earlier injunction that cities will be “right-sized” so that they can align with life in their bioregions.

It could be that this seemingly alarming indicator of changing life-flows in city centres will be the impetus for cities to recalibrate and reshape themselves.

On the city-scale this may become the fractal version of an oft-referenced principle of design – that “form follows function”. Let us watch how cities respond to an unexpected impact of the pandemic – perhaps the de-densification of the centre will become a city version of long covid???