Designing for Resilience

Adapting Facilities for the COVID Era

As our businesses and public spaces begin to reopen across the country, few places will function exactly the way they did before “COVID-19” and “social distancing” were part of the common lexicon. We have experienced rapid global change at a scale few could have imagined just months ago.

Our knowledge continues to grow; we are finding some systems to be broken and others to be resilient. “Flattening the curve” has no doubt saved countless lives, even as massive economic shutdowns created substantial challenges. There is still much we don’t know about the virus, its transmission, and the realistic timeline for living alongside it.

In planning for a future that supports health, wellness, productivity, and economic activity, how do we design for flexibility to accommodate a variety of possibilities? How do we balance the needs of our current public health reality with the long-term requirements of the spaces we design? We must start with the best advice available from public health experts and be alert to evolving information. We will need to continuously adjust our design strategies to create the safest spaces possible.

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