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After Covid-19: Urban design as spatial medicine

Rice, Louis

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Louis Rice
Associate Professor in Architecture


This article draws out key implications for urban designers from the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly the relation between urban design and health. The entire world is facing the same acute health emergency of Covid-19 which is already impacting half of the global population, and as the majority of the world now inhabits urban settings, urban dwellers are the most affected. Urban Design already plays an important role in determining the health of urban populations but this relationship is often unclear, undervalued or ignored. The field of medicine is expanding to include all professionals who have an impact on the health of others, and this expanded field includes the urban design profession. After Covid-19, urban design ought to become a form of spatial medicine, whereby the design of built environments positively contributes and facilitates human and planetary health and wellbeing.


Rice, L. (2023). After Covid-19: Urban design as spatial medicine. URBAN DESIGN International, 28, 97–102.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 1, 2020
Online Publication Date Nov 11, 2020
Publication Date Jun 30, 2023
Deposit Date Feb 3, 2021
Publicly Available Date Nov 12, 2021
Journal Urban Design International
Print ISSN 1357-5317
Electronic ISSN 1468-4519
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan (part of Springer Nature)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 28
Pages 97–102
Keywords Geography, Planning and Development; Urban Studies; Covid-19; Coronavirus; Urban design; Healthy cities; Wellbeing
Public URL
Additional Information Accepted: 1 October 2020; First Online: 11 November 2020; Free to read: This content has been made available to all.


After Covid-19: urban design as spatial medicine (158 Kb)


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This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in URBAN DESIGN International. The definitive publisher-authenticated version [Rice, L. After Covid-19: urban design as spatial medicine. URBAN DESIGN International, 10.1057/s41289-020-00142-6] is available online at:

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