Pandemic Urbanism

May 15, 2020

Reclaiming the Public, Beyond the Pandemic: A Discussion on Equity, Justice, and Resilience in the Post-COVID-19 City

Jesús Aguirre, Seattle Parks and Recreation (

Cary Moon, Citizen Activist

Brice Maryman, MIG (,

Cary Simmons, The Trust for Public Land (,

Moderated by Catherine De Almeida, University of Washington (

Organized by Jeffrey Hou, University of Washington (

The presenters will participate in this pre-organized panel discussion at the Pandemic Urbanism Symposium in a session titled “Reclaiming the Public, Beyond the Pandemic: A Discussion on Equity, Justice, and Resilience in the Post-COVID-19 City,” from 3:15 – 4:15 PM on May 29, 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the norms of city life practically overnight. Following closures of universities, museums, schools, libraries, community centers, and non-essential businesses, 15 major parks in Seattle were closed for a weekend in early April in anticipation of overcrowding. While the City of Seattle has since taken a more moderate approach toward managing park uses rather than closing down, the incident draws attention to the critical necessity of parks and green space under the pandemic and questions concerning equity and justice facing those who are underserved.

Specifically, how can we ensure that communities that need open spaces the most can have access to them, including the unhoused? What are the implications of COVID-19 for the future design and management of urban landscapes? How can we better support vulnerable populations during a crisis? How can we reinvest in the public infrastructure for long-term resilience?

This panel discussion invites advocates, practitioners, University of Washington researchers, and the City staff to engage in a public dialogue concerning these important questions. The discussion is intended to engender a deeper exploration of these issues and to build a network of actors and institutions that can begin to work together toward long-term solutions. Besides the discussion among the invited speakers, a group of students and faculty will host simultaneous discussions in the chat room or other platforms to engage the audience. Outcomes from the multiple discussions will form the basis for potential new initiatives in the College of Built Environments.