Joyanta Basak, Student, Jahangirnagar University, Dhaka


The 2019 novel coronavirus is getting much attention now because it is a new kind of virus that the researchers have not seen it among the human before. According to the World Health Organization, the name of the virus is the Novel Corona virus (COVID-19). It is the disease of coronavirus that causes the disease. Here, the 'CO' stands for corona, 'VI' stands for the virus, 'D' stands for the disease, and '19' denotes the year it started, 2019. So the neologism 'COVID-19' bears the full meaning for Coronavirus Disease 2019.

The Pandemic provides us with the time to reflect on the kind of world we have been building. It is high time to scrutinize the way of treating the planet and its resources. Planners can utilize this energy and thinking to make some significant changes. Some effective future planning strategies and directions can make the cities and towns too resilient to exist by defending this kind of pandemics in the future. This article will include the essentiality of post-COVID planning and depict some prototypes on the pre and during COVID environmental conditions. Besides, it will comprise some directions regarding post-COVID environment-friendly planning. 

The Essentiality of Effective Post-COVID Planning

Planners throughout the world mainly work for the betterment of the people. Following that, planners should have a significant role in how we can positively use this pandemic. Planners will not be planning towns and cities for isolation. Planning professionals need to design for flexible and robust places because the lockdown due to COVID-19 most likely changes again, and we might have another pandemic or disaster. 

In the recent few months, we all have seen some dramatic changes in people's behavior due to the global pandemic. COVID-19 is altering the way we all live our lives. However, this COVID-19 is surprisingly imposing some significant positive impacts on our global environment (Chen Z et al., 2020). Nevertheless, rapid urbanization in an uncontrolled manner has meant that we have a proliferation of substantial informal settlements. Within these densely populated areas, it has become more challenging to provide the necessary utility services.

The pandemic is, above all, a human tragedy (MARSH, 2020). However, eventually, we are going to return to our regular life. As a result, the positive environmental effects that we are seeing are likely to be temporary. Proper, environmentally sound planning can bring us a more sustainable future.

Environment before the Pandemic

Just some months ago, our cosmos' environmental condition was not at all equilibrium. Several pollutions were continuously threatening our ecosystems. There was massive evidence that the environment is deteriorating (Farhani and BenRejeb, 2012). Moreover, scientists considered this environmental degradation is causing significant problems for human health. Our current levels and methods of using these resources have caused tremendous damages to the environment. Land degradation, air pollution, sound pollution, and water pollution are examples of environmental deterioration (Farhani and BenRejeb, 2012).

The burning of fossil fuels, industrial discharge, and emission from vehicles is the primary pollutant air source. In contrast, the plying of excessive motorized vehicles and indiscriminate use of loudspeakers play a significant role in sound pollution.

The environment during the Pandemic

Starting from Wuhan, China, the Corona virus has spread the world over, affecting more than 150 countries (WHO, 2020). As much of the world remains to stay home practicing social distancing, vibrant cities have gone almost silent.

Source: NASA Earth Observatory Achieved, 2020

Fig: Pollutant Drops in Wuhan, China

Furthermore, that is on the surface seems to be a good thing for our environment. China is the world's highest emitter of greenhouse gases, but the lockdowns that shut down factories and kept drivers off roads have corresponded with staggering drops in emissions. Nitrogen dioxide levels have abridged by up to 40%. Scientists are experiencing similar trends in Italy and major American cities. In Paris, air pollution is down 46%, 19% in Sydney, and 29% in LA. In San Francisco, where more people love to walk and take bike rides, the city is locking down 13 miles worth of streets giving more preference to social distance (abcNEWS, 2020).  This shutdown also causes a drastic cut in CO2 emissions (WEF, 2020). Environmental changes are now ongoing at an unprecedented rate (abcNEWS, 2020). As humans stay indoors, the wildlife reclaims the city streets. Reports indicate that local peoples have spotted dolphins on the coast of Cox Bazar (OIE, 2020).

Probable Strategies for Post-COVID Environmental Planning

We need to go back to our daily life but in a different way. The outbreak of COVID-19 with the devastating crisis clearly shows how precarious our relationship to nature truly is. If we want to avert a similar situation in the coming years, we must plan that must benign to the environment. Some strategies are as following:

·         Land Use: Urban planning from the perspective of the developing countries has long been a gap between valuation and the plan's essence. The development of our towns and cities since the mid-20th century has been a byproduct of land use planning whereby spectators in the land offer for the right to sell that land on to single-use developers (Srinivas, 2008). Things might be so different when we step back after the lockdown. We must revert to mixed-use town centers that offer more combined zones. Besides, plantation should have maximum priority in all the areas.

·         Housing:  As all the family members are now locking them down all day long in the house, the new apartments will need to have a higher space standard than today. We should avoid miserly building space as it builds in obsolescence. Housing must be more flexible because people prefer to afford long lives and loose fits. There must have a touch of various green infrastructures like a rooftop garden and wall garden.

·         Movement: We are looking for other ways to work and engage rather than traveling around. However, as movement is essential to maintain sound health, the planners should plan such a way as if people can easily find the nearest movement facilities. We should plan for more and broader footpaths to avoid the crowding on the narrow footpaths. Besides, roadside plantation should be a mandatory planning tool.

·         Public realm: Planned public domain facilitates society. The implementation of green and blue networks in public places will enhance the city's beauty and make the environment fresh. Implementation of a meaningful and memorable public realm must be at the center of planning, not an afterthought. Furthermore, landowners do not compete to build the parks, so that is the job of planning. Plans would also incorporate new parks.

·         Transportation: Due to the running lockdown, our roads are having a small number of automobiles. Moreover, transportation modes have changed nowadays. People have preferred walking and cycling more than any other means. We should maintain these travel behavior to keep us safe from any pandemic. Besides, due to less conventional automobiles, the air is soothing. So, we must plan for green transport on post-COVID planning ideologies.

·         Connectivity: Planners should plan in such a way where they will maintain functional connectivity between the urban towns and urban villages. It is easy to isolate and protect urban villages than in huge cities.

As mentioned above, environment-friendly planning strategies will give us a glimpse of the planet's probable scenario if we take proper care.


Post-COVID urban planning is the utilization of planning strategies to leave something of value for future generations. We must continue to use limited resources that never harm the environment. People worldwide might think about the park's nearest location, the green space, walking, and cycling itinerary. They want to inhale the fresh air, to hear bird songs. Moreover, for that, urban planning should perform with talented prodigy. Because it is only proper planning that can bequeath future generations' urban form and sound and green ambiance to cherish while allowing those who come after us to color their use maps according to their age needs.

About the Author: Joyanta Basak is a final year student of Urban and Regional Planning Department, Jahangirnagar University, Savar, Dhaka. He has remained a former internee of the Department of Environment (DoE), Bangladesh. He is one of those aspirants who care for our environment.