GEOG/GD 464 Student Summer 2020

Due to the current pandemic situation, the normal operation and development of many cities have been affected. The COVID-19 epidemic has turned most cities in the world into a wilderness (Constable, 2020). China and the United States are the absolute hardest hit areas in this disaster. Wuhan, China is the source of the outbreak. At the same time, the United States’ flu epidemic in the United States has not been resolved, and it is necessary to cope with the raging COVID-19, especially in various cities in California.

Today, nearly half a year before the outbreak, thanks to the efforts of governments and the World Health Organization, most cities in the world have resumed their previous operations. However, through recent media reports, we can find that China is facing a second outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, due to the transportation of seafood products between China and Japan. On the other hand, there are riots in a large number of cities in the United States, as well as the increase in large-scale assembly activities due to the approach of the US elections. Based on the analysis of the current situation, a large number of cities in China and the United States are still suffering from the epidemic, and it is difficult to estimate how long this situation will last. COVID-19 is a disaster all over the world and a nightmare in the city. However, today I would like to talk about the epidemic from a different perspective and show some things that give hope in this disaster.

Italian writer Francesca Melandri published an article during the epidemic called This Is What We Know About Your Future, which was a letter written by European countries after Melandri had been quarantined at home for several weeks. There is a saying “You will feel vulnerable when going out shopping in the deserted streets, especially if you are a woman. You will ask yourselves if this is how societies collapse. (Melandri, 2020)” There are no false statements about the severity of the epidemic. There are no people on the streets, and the city has become very quiet, as if the end of the world has come. However, the fact is not so desperate. Employees  work at home or work remotely, reducing commuting time and eliminating the need to travel early and return, including transportation costs. I believe that most people do not like the rush to get off work and the large amount of time spent. After the start of home isolation, the stress of employees’ lives is reduced. Instead, they have more time to exercise and pay attention to the family, so the happiness index of the working population will increase. On the other hand, during the epidemic, people will strengthen their self-protection awareness and pay more attention to personal hygiene and personal education in life. After the epidemic has ended, this habit has a high probability of being retained, which will reduce the number of sick and medical treatments in the future. For human factors in the city, the above two points are definitely benefits that cannot be ignored.

Many countries encourage “social isolation” where possible.

The ecological situation has always been the focus of urban development. Natural ecosystems are relatively stable ecosystems maintained by natural regulation capabilities, but natural ecosystems are often destroyed by the way cities operate. Natural ecosystems are relatively stable ecosystems maintained by natural regulation capabilities, but natural ecosystems are often  destroyed by the way cities operate. Wild animals in the city are declining due to poor living conditions or being hunted, and the activity of microorganisms is inhibited, resulting in incomplete decomposition function. Due to the emergence of the epidemic and its causes, led by China, many countries have promulgated laws prohibiting the consumption and trading of wild animals and plants (Vaughan, 2020). The emergence of laws means that the ecosystem will receive more attention and attention. I believe that more countries will support and consider issuing similar laws. The recovery of natural ecology is beneficial to cities, countries and the world.

Illustration by Kelsey King.

Compared with natural ecosystems, artificial ecosystems in cities are more important. All facilities in the city are made by people, they are the main body of the artificial ecosystem. Artificial ecosystems affect industry, construction, and transportation in cities. They require a lot of energy, but they also bring a lot of pollution. It is undeniable that due to the outbreak, medical facilities have been heavily used, resulting in increased medical sewage and increased pressure on the city’s sewage system. However, the small and medium-sized industries in various cities were forced to close due to the epidemic situation, which greatly reduced carbon emissions and sewage emissions. According to NASA’s air quality report, since the outbreak began and the Chinese government took corresponding measures, China found that pollution in Wuhan and other parts of China was significantly reduced (Stieg, 2020). At the same time, because of the significant reduction in carbon emissions, the air quality, water resources and environmental quality of most cities in the world have been greatly improved during the isolation of citizens’ homes, which has slowed the trend of global warming (Agravante, 2020). If conditions permit, I think learning and improving the urban artificial ecosystem during the epidemic will create many opportunities for environmental problems in the world.

NASA pictures show that China’s air pollution has improved significantly.

As David Harvey mentioned in his book, the concept of urban rights is far more than the personal freedom of obtaining urban resources (Harvey, 2008). Looking at the epidemic from another perspective, it will be a surprising discovery. Perhaps the epidemic can look like a warning, allowing people to re-see the original face of cities that are not packaged by various enterprises and projects, and reflect on and progress through the epidemic. However, Coronavirus Pandemic is still a disaster faced by all mankind. People in all countries and cities should maintain an open and cooperative attitude. I sincerely hope that people still affected by the epidemic can pay attention to personal hygiene, remain rational, and believe that in their own country, everything will be good.


Agravante, M. (2020, April 20). COVID-19 and its effects on the environment. Retrieved from INHABITAT:

Constable, H. (2020, April 26). How do you build a city for a pandemic? Retrieved from BBC:

Harvey, D. (2008, September). THE RIGHT TO THE CITY. Retrieved from NewLeftReview:

Melandri, F. (2020, March 27). What We Know About Your Future. Retrieved from Support The Guardian:


Stieg, C. (2020, March 6). NASA images show ‘significant decreases’ in air pollution over China amid coronavirus economic slowdown—take a look. Retrieved from CNBC:

Vaughan, A. (2020, April 2). Coronavirus: China wildlife trade ban could become law within months. Retrieved from New Scientist:

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