There would be some urban features that could favor theincrease in infections from Covid-19. This is what emerged from a Chinese research on urban design and how much this aspect has influenced the increase or not of infections.
Among the cities studied, it could not be missing Milano, the most affected city in Italy since the beginning of the pandemic. Because of his radial shape and of the urban connection, the reasons for such a large number of cases could be explained at least in part.
A research on Covid infections: why are some cities more at risk?
The urban form apparently has a weight, albeit limited, in the increase in infections as a research conducted by scholars of the Zhejiang Center for Urban Planning in China.
The studio named «Role of urban planning characteristics in forming pandemic resilient cities»Took into consideration thirty European cities for their urban characteristics. The data showed that the linear, grid or radial structure could have made the city more or less vulnerable to the arrival of the first infections.
Cities with a radial structure, such as Milan, have a higher incidence of infections than the number of inhabitants when compared to other cities with different conformations.
Obviously, the research was not limited to the “shape of the city”, but has investigated other important urban aspects such as public transport. The greater the capillarity of the system, the more likely it is to increase the movement of people, causing a surge in infections.
Since the nineteenth century, epidemics have been the decisive push to make possible some urban changes and transformations and that is why this research has been started. Suffice it to say that due to the Spanish influence of 1919 some cities in Southern Italy began to equip themselves with a real sewage system and more. Paris, London, Naples, Rome renewed their sanitary and urban structures.
Milan and Covid infections: has the urban form influenced it?
Milan is a city in radial shape and this certainly affected the possibility of making the city vulnerable to the arrival of the Coronavirus. In reality, as demonstrated by the study, the association between the spread of the epidemic and the “urban structure” converges on some intrinsic aspects of the mobility: in radial cities it is easier for there to be greater traffic and connection in inland areas.
Between Manchester, Friborg, Southampton and Munich, Sheffield and Genoa, Milan is a city where 40% of journeys take place on public transport, generating greater accessibility and consistent flows of travel.
By studying the pandemics of the past, we realize that it is precisely the continuous movement of the masses that is the engine for the contagion, which is why Milan may have registered such a high number of cases.
Covid infections: what does the research say about it?
In addition to form and mobility, there are other factors that may have influenced the constant increase in infections, forming a complex combination.
The number of inhabitants of a city is not always related to the greater diffusion, unlike the population density. Metropolises such as Milan, London, New York with a high number of inhabitants have recorded a high number of infections, but cities such as Seoul, Singapore, Hong Kong, despite the high population, have recorded much lower numbers.
What really matters are the overpopulated areas. In fact, Milan has numerous areas that are excessively crowded compared to other cities analyzed. Furthermore, the chronological aspect must also be considered, Lombardy was one of the first Italian and European regions to be hit by the pandemic. A mix that on balance has played a significant role in the contagion.
Covid infections: what are the real causes?
Beyond the urban planning causes, however, a longer reflection on the health system in Italy should be opened. If it is true that every pandemic has managed to show countries the weaknesses of urban and health infrastructures, Italy should reflect on some characteristic aspects.
For example, the relationship between the Government and the Regional Councils have often been at the center of health events since the beginning of the pandemic, not to mention the incomplete integration of the private system with the public health system which has caused not a few slowdowns both during prevention and during vaccination campaign, especially in Lombardy.