Don't Fence Me In was written by Cole Porter and Robert Fletcher and Roy Rogers sang in the 1944 movie – Hollywood Canteen. The idea of wide open spaces has always been a metaphor for freedom and healthy living… But here we are in the midst of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and we are rethinking the safety and security of our open spaces. Even when we stroll in the park, we’re told we need to keep our distance. It’s forced us to rethink how we use outdoor public space, how we re-organize our urban infrastructure. It won’t just change the way we use our parks and parking lots – it will have a direct effect on the way urban transportation – both public and private – as we learn to live in the COVID era. John Surico is a freelance journalist based in the UK. He writes about urban spaces and public transit for CITYLAB and the New York Times. He joins us from his office in London.
Whether it’s re-opening our economy, getting the kids back to class, or keeping your regular dentist appointment – the recovery and success will depend on your comfort and your confidence that we will be able to do all of this safely as we face the challenges of COVID-19. Sarah Thorne, President and CEO of Decision • Partners is a behavioural researcher. She says we are all in a state of adaptive management. As much as we may think things have changed quickly, Thorne says our collective experience during this pandemic has been one of “slowing things down”. It’s causing us to think of what we’re doing, why we’re doing it and re-evaluating our values. As it stands now, her research suggests most Canadians are becoming active risk assessors and will make decisions now based on their own comfort and confidence that they and their families will be safe.