Climate Emergency + Coronavirus

Christopher Martin

Climate Change is the world’s least exciting pandemic. In so many places it has become the norm, not least because it discriminates. The pain is most acute if you live in a less affluent country, and then more so if you’re in poverty.

To truly revitalise our response, we need to change how we move, consume, produce, cook, build, and farm - bearing in mind, through it all, that people resist change.

This current pandemic, though, has been met with an outsized restraint, and with the sacrifce of income, opportunity, and ego. The reward has been sane, relaxing, and accommodating places.

Birdsong and blue skies may seem like scant compensation for a crumbling economy and a health crisis mind, but it’s worth remembering that ahead of the Beijing Olympics similar restrictions were in place to get the air quality to a fit state for the world stage. When the restrictions were lifted, air quality again tanked, leading to people calling for the restriction to come back - setting China on a path to better regulation, more industrial efficiency, new transport systems, and a sea change in its urban air quality.

When it comes to tackling the Climate Emergency, it is easy to struggle to imagine it is possible. Now we don’t have to imagine.

Urban Design Group Article - Climate Emergency + Coronavirus by Christopher Martin

Christopher Martin is an influential urban designer and planner working all over the globe to help communities improve their public spaces, as well as supporting Governments to develop strategy, change policies, and make great places possible.

He is Co-Founder and Director of Urban Strategy at Urban Movement, and a fully qualified Urban Designer and Planner, with over 14 years’ experience leading complex urban projects; applying his expertise to public realm, streets and transport. He consistently adds value through ensuring the seamless integration of urban and landscape design with engineering and transport.

Chris is on the UDG's Exec Committee and Editorial Board for the URBAN DESIGN Journal. He is also a member of the United Nation’s ‘Planners + Climate Action Group’; a Trustee of Living Streets, the charity that champions walking in cities; a member of the Placemaking Leadership Council at Project for Public Spaces; a member of London design review panels; and he has been a lecturer and tutor at The Bartlett School of Planning and Architecture for a number of years.