Alain Bertaud Participates in a Discussion
of Cities in a Post-COVID World
Senior Fellow Alain Bertaud participated in a webinar, “Danger of Density: The Future of Cities in a Post-COVID World,” hosted by Columbia Global Centers. Columbia Professor Saskia Sassen joined him on a panel moderated by Kian Tajbakhsh. On the question of whether density is the enemy, Bertaud says:
Density really in the long run is not the danger of a pandemic. What is the danger is poverty. That means, if you have an entire family, three generations living in two rooms, this is very dangerous for a pandemic. But, if you are living in a high-density neighborhood on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and the density here can reach 600–800 people per hectare [150k–200k people per sq. mi.], this is not dangerous. ...
We were tricked into thinking that density was a problem because of course usually cities with high densities are much more connected to the rest of the world, and if you are much more connected, you get hit first.