The city after the pandemic

Covid-19. We at Barcelona Metròpolis magazine have asked ourselves how global cities such as Barcelona have been affected by the Coronavirus crisis and how they will be affected in future. The collection of articles “The city after the pandemic” provides some answers.

The Covid-19 pandemic has hit those global cities with the greatest capacity for attraction and exchange particularly hard. Barcelona has suffered an exceptional situation that has put its responsiveness and resilience to the test. How will this crisis affect the future of the city? What changes will it lead to in areas such as politics, urban planning or time management? In times of Coronavirus, Metròpolis magazine is publishing a collection of articles titled “The city after the pandemic” with the aim of answering some questions and raising some new ones.

“It is no coincidence that the pandemic has hit big cities such as Barcelona particularly hard. Its openness to the world, appeal and international links have made it weaker. We must take this chance to rethink the city and build alternatives.” These are the reflections of the publishing house that publishes the work of Milagros Pérez Oliva, director of Barcelona Metròpolis, who is presenting the magazine’s latest issue. This is how she introduces the various authors who have contributed to the collection of articles “The city after the pandemic”.

Joan Subirats, Gemma Tarafa, Daniel Innerarity, Núria Moliner, Marta Peirano, José María Lassalle and Belén Barreiro analyse the situation in a variety of areas: mobility and employment, public health and social services, urban planning and architecture, new technologies and citizen control and the operation and health of democracy. The articles contain not only experiences and proposals on how to organise life in cities in the future but also questions and challenges that will need to be addressed and managed in this or any future pandemics that may emerge.

Conversations and images of (and from) Barcelona in lockdown

The journalist Lluís Reales interviews artificial intelligence (AI) expert Ramón López de Mántaras. Although the interview covers a wider range of issues, it also discusses how AI can help prevent or resolve crises such as the Covid-19 crisis, and López de Mántaras provides a clear answer: “A good artificial intelligence system would anticipate the emergence of a new pandemic in two to three weeks.” “The first international conversation on Coronavirus is – as it could not be otherwise – a virtual one.” This is how Jorge Carrión presents his meeting with Alessandro Baricco: from home and by video conference. You can read the article The virus and the Game, in which Baricco explains that viruses, both computer and biological ones, move at ultrasonic speed. 

The photographic report that appears throughout the magazine is Barcelona #desdecasa [Barcelona from home], one of the photographic works that can be enjoyed since May on the website of Imatges Barcelona, ​​the new photographic collection of the city made available to the public by the City Council. In this case, it shows the empty streets and squares of Barcelona in lockdown, ​​the city without its people. And, as usual, the issue ends with a work of fiction. La distància adequada [An appropriate distance] is a story by Carlos Zanón inspired on the pandemic and on how personal relationships have been affected by distance and lockdown.