15 Dec

Geographical Review Preview: Urban Form and Spatiotemporal Vulnerability of Local Communities to COVID-19

This paper investigates spatiotemporal dynamics of the effects of urban form on the Covid-19 spread within local communities in Salt Lake County, Utah, in the United States. We identify three types of communities—minority, traditional urban and suburban, and new suburban—and three stages throughout March 2020—September 2021, reflecting the initial, breakout, and recovery stages. While the traditional urban and suburban communities experience the least risk of Covid-19, minority communities are severely impacted in the initial and breakout stages, and remote suburban communities are primarily affected in the breakout and recovery stages. The regression further reveals the role of urban form in the pandemic. High-density urban land use is the main density factor contributing to the disease’s spread. In the initial stage, mobility factors such as street connectivity and walkability contribute to the local spread, while land use mixture is the catalyst in the outbreak stage. A comprehensive compact development might offset these negative effects on local public health, and its contribution to local resilience in the recovery stage is also confirmed. Thus, compact development is still valuable for building urban resilience, and proper planning and policies can offset the potential adverse effects of pandemics.

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