Tower of green: a residential building covered in plants in Milan, Italy ( Getty ) A pause has been forced on urban life. Quiet roads , empty skies, deserted high streets and parks, closed cinemas , cafes and museums – a break in the spending and work frenzy so familiar to us all. The reality of lockdown is making ghost towns of the places we once knew. Everything we know about our urban world has come to a shuddering halt – for now. The lockdown will, at some point, end. Urban life will begin to hum again to the familiar rhythms of work, leisure and shopping. This will be a huge relief for us all. Yet our towns and cities will never be the same. Indeed, things might get worse before they get better. But it’s also the case that other crises haven’t gone away. Our relatively brief lockdown won’t solve longer-term urban problems: dependence on fossil fuels, rising carbon emissions, poor air quality, dysfunctional housing markets, loss of biodiversity, divisions between the rich and the poor, low paid work. These are going to need our attention again. The coronavirus crisis has offered a new perspective on these problems […]

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