Gerrit Jordaan

Director: Architect and Urban Designer at NEWURBAN
Location:Pretoria, South Africa


Director: Architect and Urban Designer at NEWURBAN


Architectural design, Urban Design, Development Facilitation


Year completed:1976
Education level:Degree
Location:Port Elizabeth, South Africa
B. Arch
Year completed:1979
Education level:Honours
Location:Port Elizabeth, South Africa
MEP (Urban Design)
Year completed:1989
Education level:Masters
Location:Johannesburg, South Africa
Gerrit Jordaan
Has Covid-19 triggered a permanent shift away from dense city living?
As an Urban Designer, I believe that it is not correct to use the COVID-19 pandemic as the only current major shift in the city building process. Cities are built over the centuries and mayor events will have an impact on of the city building process or migration within the urban environment. However to look at short term reactions and to extrapolate it as if the “new normal” will be forever with us, is like changing your long term investment strategy based on a single percentage change in the market. The suburbanisation process of cities in the 20th century was due to complex number of factors like increase of private mobility, inner city conditions, workforce changes, land speculation as well as the “American Dream” that was promoted by the Urban Planners and Authorities. The expensive and unsustainable suburban model is well documented and the New Urbanism model, that revert back to the traditional city building process has been proven to provide better and affordable living environments with mixed uses and higher densities. If we look at previous catastrophes in history, it is clear that the resilience of humanity is amazing and the new normal is not far from the normal. Even cities that were totally destroyed by war was rebuilt, and sometimes totally restored. The need for safe and accessible public spaces will remain and it is even evident in the fact that people are even congregating despite the regulations. It is important not to confuse short term market reactions with long term trends. It is the way we respond to change as a new “opportunity” rather than as “catastrophe”.
Posted on 29 Jul 2020 11:52
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