It's spreading fast — the idea that rush hour on NYC mass transit has got to go for NYC to start up again and get back its mojo. Sounds right to me. But the end of rush hour means quickly moving the city in a direction never before conjured up even in utopian fever dreams. Here are eight ideas culled from the current buzz and my own feverish brain for reviving the city. Some could be relatively short term and could end when science finds a cure for COVID 19 and develops a universally accessible vaccine to prevent its future contagion. Other no more rush hour changes should be permanent because they will contribute to the end of auto dependency, clean up NYC's air, cut our carbon emissions and foster a city that doesn't rely on always-expensive and thus always-inequitable car ownership.
COVID-19 has plunged the world into the deepest crisis in industrial history in just a few months. What began as a local epidemic in Wuhan in December 2019 has developed into a global pandemic along the travel and trade networks so characteristic of 21st Century globalization. The inevitable lock-down has led to GDP losses in the G7 countries of between 20–30% for the first two quarters of 2020. 1 The size and duration of the current economic decline will ultimately depend on the pandemic's duration, i.e., on the availability of a vaccine. Some economists already doubt whether a full recovery 2 is even possible. The fear of a "95% economy", i.e. a permanent worldwide reduction in economic activity, is making the rounds.
This terrifying scenario nurtures the urge of some politicians to open up their economy too quickly, which at first sight seems to create a trade-off between public health and public wealth, between saving lives and saving the economy. Paul Krugman, the 2008 Nobel Laureate in Economics, has sharply rejected the underlying misunderstanding: 3 Infected workers and entrepreneurs cannot save an economy any more than fearful consumers could. Without an end to the health crisis, there can be no end to the economic crisis. Simply closing our eyes to the pandemic's dangers is not the way out of the economic crisis. Only a coordinated strategy to combat the pandemic and recover the economy can — the priority is clearly on health policy. Still, economic policy innovations are important and, like every crisis, they offer the opportunity for change — for a transformation towards an inclusive and green economy. Cities can manage this crisis and even emerge as hubs of resilience and innovation — as they always have been throughout economic history — but inclusiveness and the degree of green will take conscious policy choices, particularly with respect to inequalities, local capacities and promoting new forms of solidarity.
What is civil society's strategy for U.S. climate victory in 2021? ICYMI on July 1, 2020 watch policy experts weigh in on a package of proposed federal legislation to help the US reduce emissions and build a healthier economy for everyone — register for the next webinar in this series on July 15th