The PlaceMakers Pandemic Response Compendium
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Check out the Pandemic Toolkit, available in 8 languages at
~Hazel Borys or Scott Bernstein or Jason Syvixay
ActPandemic response to support public health & economic recoveryToolCategoryMethodKey PointsPre-
Long TermBlock Street BuildingNeighborhood District CorridorRegionExampleExampleExampleExampleExampleExampleExampleExampleExampleExampleExampleExampleExampleExampleExampleExampleExampleExampleExampleExampleExampleExampleExampleExample
1Prioritize equity, inclusivity and justice.PolicyEngageMunicipal + provincial/state governmentsConsider tools such as PHEAL: Planning for Health, Equity, Advocacy and Leadership, a policy platform to reaffirm the imperative need for public health and design professionals to work together to foster an environment of synergy with the purpose of empowering and elevating the voices of historically overburdened communities with health inequities in the time of COVID-19.xxxxxx
2Enable outdoor dining.Zoning & PolicyDineCode amendment & application and/or council actionMany communities prohibit the use of the public rights-of-way and parks. Others allow it through permitting and fees. And some communities have established processes that even permit the use of parking lanes, travel lanes, and public parks for dining.
Develop a COVID-19 Temporary Patio Registration Form that covers: general safety requirements; ROW requirements for expansion into sidewalk, parking lane, travel lane and/or park; insurance; indemnity; deductibles; reduced parking regs; winter requirements for heaters, shelter, and snow clearing OR draft a council proclamation to allow this without application or fees, clearly stating rules and indemnification.
xxxxMost communities have become adept at fair-weather outdoor dining in 2020, but creative thinking is required for dining alfresco in winter. As inspiration, RAW:Almond hosts a pop-up winter restaurant on or near the frozen Assiniboine and Red Rivers, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, one of the three coldest cities with a population of 800,000 or higher. For seven out of the last eight years, the restaurant evolves with a new design and roster of chefs, thanks co-founders, chef Mandel Hitzer and designer Joe Kalturnyk, along with engineer Jon Reid. Images: Raw Almond copyright 2013, 2015, 2016. Full Winnipeg gallery along with RAW pop-ups in Tokyo as well as other Manitoba communities of Churchill, Gimli, and Wasagaming is at RAW:Almond. While the pop-up is on hold for winter 2020 due to COVID, deer + almond is a model for physically-distanced but socially-connected dining., Washington proclamation allows restaurants and cafes to use streets, right of ways & private property to extend business outdoors. Builds on existing ordinance for street cafes. No application or fees required., Greenhouse Pods Extend Outdoor Dining In Fulton Market, in Chicago is a streamlined process for restaurants to open during COVID19 phase 2 in Norfolk, VA. temporary outdoor dining areas temporary outdoor dining areas’s capital, Vilnius, is operating as a “giant outdoor cafe,” with restaurants permitted to set up tables in plazas and streets City Council unanimously passed a motion directing Staff to quickly enable options for “Flexible, Innovative & Expedited” new processes for much more outdoor seating/patio space for restaurants, cafes etc as part of the economic recovery., Ontario: “Outdoor Dining Districts” on city streets and parking lots + relaxed rules to enable patios on parking lots in malls/plazas 15 cities worldwide have taken measures to allow businesses to use sidewalk or street space, according to Mike Lydon's Temporary Outdoor Patio and Retail Expansion implemented at Whyte Avenue (82 Avenue) and 102 Street, where segment of street closed to expand space for patio + pedestrians. cities like Toronto and New York, the application of pilot projects has been used expedite urban planning projects that include introduction of bikelanes, repurpose roads to pedestrian corridors, sidewalk cafe's and other public realm improvements. Using a pilot project approach helps to implement the vision in a manner that lets people experience the proposed change and build consensus prior to it being permanent while reducing the risk of it becoming defined in the media or potentially politized. `

Rafael Mejia-Ortiz (Project Manager LiveWorkLearnPlay)
Ski gondolas repurposed for eating out with your bubble
3Develop outdoor café design guidelines.PolicyDineDesign guidelines & applicationFurther expedite the permitting process to enable outdoor dining for restaurants with design regulations. This is particularly important for winter cities, towns, and suburbs where restaurateurs need assistance with environmental controls.xxxxIDEAS GUIDEBOOK via City of Baltimore + Baltimore Development Corporation + The Neighborhood Design Center + Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health https://www.designfordistancing.orgJersey City, NJ, Parklet Guide's Temporary Outdoor Retail Guidelines is a toolkit for restaurants to open during COVID19 phase 2 in Norfolk, VA. David Rockwell has created a template for outdoor dining that he is making public for establishments to use if they receive permits., NC COA Temporary Outdoor Expansion Guidelines - Parklets June 2020
4Enable outdoor shopping, learning, and places of worship.ZoningShop, Learn, RestPermitting update and/or council actionConsiderations for the use of the public right-of-way include liability issues for local government and business and a clear path for pedestrians. These barriers to the use of the sidewalk, parking lanes, travel lanes, and parkland often inhibit its use for anything other than walking and dining.
Develop a COVID-19 Temporary Public Space Registration Form that covers: general safety requirements; ROW permits; insurance; indemnity; deductibles; reduced parking regs; winter regs (shelter; heaters; snow removal) OR draft a council proclamation to allow this without application or fees, clearly stating rules and indemnification.
xxxxLangley, Washington proclamation allows retail to use streets, right of ways & private property to extend business outdoors. Builds on existing ordinances for public markets. No application or fees required. shops and storefront churches take over adjacent parking spaces
5Allow in-home occupation.ZoningWorkCode amendment Many local governments have some types of home business permitted, but often with limitations on the number of employees along with high parking requirements and restricted signage.
Allow in-home occupation to enable work-from-home without permitting. Reassess area restrictions in existing regulations to accommodate social distancing requirements.
xxxxMany examples are on Codes
6Allow Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs).ZoningDwellCode amendment Many communities have permitted accessory dwellings associated with primary dwellings, but the restrictions are frequently made unusable through setbacks, parking, and ownership restrictions. The pandemic economy requires every means possible to increase household income, and accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are an opportunity to leverage the average household's greatest asset. ADUs provide access to additional income for homeowners and allows renters to access affordable housing during constrained economic conditions due to the pandemic.
Readdress ADU parking requirements; size restrictions; setback restrictions; and ownership occupation requirements.
xxxxMany examples are on Codes Study.www.CodesStudy.orgThe resideual homeowner's benefit from ADU's is equity gained from added living space. A simple calculation of using the existing the price per square foot of the home to calcualte the increase value can help secure financing from lenders.

In California Bills AB-881 and AB-68 provide a streamlined process for ADU approvals reducing timelines from 120 to 60 days. See further, the policy framework :

Rafael Mejia-Ortiz (Project Manager LiveWorkLearnPlay)
7Allow Accessory Commercial Units (ACUs).ZoningWorkCode amendment ZONING via code amendment
Accessory commercial units (ACUs) allow homeowners to access additional income and allows renters to access affordable commercial space within neighborhoods, which are increasingly becoming job centers during pandemic conditions. These must be carefully located based upon multi-modal traffic patterns and street types.
Revise regulations to permit mixed-use; reduce front setbacks if on-street parking exists; require sidewalk minimum widths where possible; reduce parking requirements for small commercial spaces.
xxxxMany examples are on Codes
8Enable pop-up bicycle lanes.Design ManualMoveText editEnable active transportation with physical distancing to support well-being and reductions in greenhouse gasses and particulates.
Provide expedited pop-up bicycle lane process.
xxxxxNew pop-up cycling lane miles:
Paris 400
Rome 93
Oakland 74
Bogotá 47
Milan 22
Berlin 14
Barcelona 13 and other similar closing of certain streets to automobiles for cyclist and pedestrians provide increase active transportaiton and opporutnities for people to connect with the cities they live in. In Covid times closing of certain streets can provide the space for people to socialize safely and address feelings of isolation and loneliness by encouraging group like activities with space to safely social distance.

Rafael Mejia-Ortiz (Project Manager LiveWorkLearnPlay)
9Expedite temporary uses.ZoningAllCode amendment & applicationMany local governments have laborious, time-consuming processes for temporary use permits. To assist with economic recovery, these permitting processes should be simplified.
Simplify application process for temporary uses, including pop-up retail, pop-up services, community gardens and greenhouses on undeveloped or underused lots OR allow these temporary uses by right as long as the user has a written agreement on file from the landowner.
xxxxAmendments to real estate regs to help reduce the negative effects of the pandemic and meet the needs of the market.
10Increase availability and access to nature.ZoningCode amendment & applicationSocially distanced gatherings outdoors are proven to be safer than indoors, and parks and open spaces have become a safe haven in the time of the pandemic. Additionally, access to nature is proven to have healing properties and positive health impacts and should be prioritized to assist with pandemic recovery. In addition to the expedited temporary uses of gardens and greenhouses, additional park land should be prioritized.
Institute public access agreements with school boards to make school land available for park use when school is not in session. Acquire small plots of vacant land for pocket parks. Adopt as a principle that everyone should have a park within a 10-minute walk. Institute a community volunteer tree stewardship program, which may include planting, pruning, mulching and watering of street, park and school trees.
xxxxTree Stewards are trained community volunteers committed to promoting healthy urban and rural forests in Virginia.
11Create open streets.PolicyMovePolicy statement & administrationOpen a network of streets prioritizing bicycles, scooters, wheelchairs, runners, walkers, with car access limited to one block from 8am-8pm. Many communities around the world have converted streets to prioritize active transportation modes during the pandemic. This is proving to be very effective and some cities are considering a permanent conversion. Mike Lydon of Street Plans tracks over 60 communities globally who have developed open streets.xxxxKeeping open streets - often called COVID-streets - open and healthy through the winter will take design adjustments, permitting skating, skiing, sledding, fat biking, and walking trails through the most walkable parts of the city. As long as people are moving, they are more likely to keep warm enough to be outside. Walkability mitigates the most extreme climates by providing interesting places to warm up, linger, and connect. Open streets in winter cities should be walkable and bikeable, but also skiable, sledable, or skateable. And playful. Warming Huts: An Art + Architecture Competition on Ice has been upping the ante on the Assiniboine and Red Rivers in Winnipeg, Manitoba through the active core, since 2009. a methodology for some of these to become permanent at least during non rush hours
12Implement the U.S. National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery.Policy, Design Manual, ZoningMovePolicy, code amendment, & applicationStreet should be repurposed based upon the pandemic phase. 1) stay-at-home orders are in place; 2) pre-vaccine phased reopening; or 3) post-vaccine. Many of the other specific items in this toolkit help implement the NACTO guide.xxxxxx
13Reconsider legacy rules on the number of unrelated persons who can live in a home or apartment.ZoningDwellCode amendmentPossibly the most prevalent barrier to shared housing, these limits were originally passed when this criterion was taken as evidence of criminal behavior. This regulation contributes to systemic prejudice and does not acknowledge the gig economy and sharing trends that are prevalent in younger generations.
Assess restrictions on unrelated persons in current ordinances and by-laws.
xxxxMany examples are on Codes
14Contract with community based organizations to provide early warnings of health threatening activities.Public Private PartnershipEngageCommunity organizationSimilar to community policing, this partnership democratizes a necessary public function and distributes it to the community level.xxxxxNew Era of Public Safety: An advocacy toolkit for fair, safe and effective community policing.
15Develop a community engagement strategy.PolicyEngageCoaching and organization of toolsCOVID-19 communications strategies should not be all about emulating pre-COVID methods, but enabling a new normal, informed by how it worked when we could be together closely. Governments and individuals are quickly transitioning to virtual engagement, but care must be given to assure it is inclusive.
Many government meetings have shifted to virtual solutions, and while this is resulting in higher participation numbers in many places, care must be given to provide dial-in numbers for those without access to broadband, taking surveys to the sidewalks as well as to cyberspace. Language interpretation is a challenge in a virtual environment, and areas with English as a second language residents must carefully provide for their access.
xxxxxxIn collaboration with Jennifer Hurley, per blog series and forthcoming Zoom webinars. embraced online/virtual public hearings, where residents signed up to speak in advance to the meeting.
16Develop a tiny home code.ZoningDwellNew zoning districtIn addition to accessory dwelling units (ADUs), a tiny home code further expands small scale residential and can enlarge the affordable housing stock during a time of economic crisis.
Assess and revise area minimums for residences; assess and revise foundation requirements in regulations.
xxCottage and tiny home blog posts
17Implement a marketing campaign about how "gentle density" looks and how it can support a range of people during times of crisis.PolicyDwellMunicipal and regional governmentsAddress inaccurate correlations between density and virus spread. Help visualize density, like the dwelling units per acre pictured above, as modified for context-sensitive local character.xxxxDoes Density Aggravate the COVID-19 Pandemic? Early Findings and Lessons for Planners by Shima Hamidi, Sadegh Sabouri, and Reid Ewing
18Enable mixed use and update the zoning map.ZoningAllRezoning and code amendment Many small businesses may not make it through the pandemic lockdowns and slowdowns. To prepare for change while mitigating losses to the tax base, diversify uses particularly on commercial corridors and in neighborhood centers.xxxxxxMixed-use zoning districts allow either vertical mixed-use or horizontal mixed-use to occur on any lot in the district, so that uses can change without a rezoning, saving time and money for the tenants and landlords. This in turn helps municipal budgets be more resilient when reinvention of existing businesses occur, or when new businesses and residents arrive. This mixture of compatible use allows live-work and work-live, and may allow clean, quiet artisanal manufacturing and makerspace. standard shopping centre leasing model could incorporate multi-family rental housing. calls for finding new uses for empty shops, digitalising existing ones and bringing craftspeople, specialist shops and small-scale manufacturers back to the high street.
19Develop a pandemic preparedness plan.PolicyAllComprehensive PlanConsider additional tools available on PlaceMakers Pandemic Response Compendium, a growing collection of crowd-sourced resources that inform the Toolkit, including case studies of how local governments are beginning to implement many of these actions. The compendium provides further guidance on timeframes for each action (pre-vaccine, post-vaccine, or long-term), as well as the scale of the intervention (block / street / building; neighborhood / district / corridor; or region), category of each action (engage, dine, shop, learn, rest, work, dwell), and examples of best practices from the cities and towns who are enacting a similar pandemic response with links to their work in progress.
A local pandemic preparedness plan is a policy document that should follow the 18 more expedient actions listed above. After these initial measures are implemented to support community health and the local economy, additional more complex ideas should be added:
An economic development action plan is an essential component of a pandemic preparedness plan, to rebuild local and regional economies as quickly and as safely as possible. Develop strategies, initiatives, and funding sources to rebuild and strengthen the economy by promoting walkable, compact (but not crowded), complete, connected and convivial places that the market values, and that are easier on the environment and promote strong social connections even during required pre-vaccine physical distancing. Place-based economic development strategies that are holistic in nature deliver significant returns to people, the planet, and profit.
Housing initiatives that require purchasing of lands and structures by government, nonprofits such as landbanks, or public private partnerships belong in a pandemic plan. This may include purchase or rental of vacant hotels or train cars as temporary homeless shelters, or purchase of pandemic-priced land for future affordable housing.
The pandemic plan should measure the effectiveness of many safeguards already put in place or add constraints at the direction of the local public health officers, such as temporal distancing to go with physical distancing: staggered work hours; public exercise and shopping hours blocked out for seniors; staggered hours at schools and government offices to flatten the rush-hour curve, reducing crowding on transit and traffic on roads; freight dropped off and garbage picked up at night.
xxxxxxThe Local Leader's Toolkit: A Strong Towns Response to the Pandemic Towns Academyhttps://academy.strongtowns.org
20Develop and steward a Business Innovation Grant (BIG) to support businesses transitioning to pandemic-resilient models.Public Private PartnershipAllall levels of governmentGrants and funding could support businesses in their purchasing of PPE, to adhere to health guidelines, to develop temporary/permanent patios, or to transition to a virtual workforce or e-commerce platforms.xxxEdmonton's Economic Recovery Program awards businesses $1,000, $2,500, or $5,000. A total of $1.6 million is set aside, and is estimated to support approximately 900 grants.
21Provide a lifeline package of broadband services.Public Private PartnershipWork, LearnCouncil direction and budget amendment + negotiated services from franchised utilitiesNecessary for home-based work; in some areas new or expanded service not available at any pricexxxxxOfferd in 230 communities, map and explanation exsiting infrastructure like public payphones as wireless hot spots. Example. Over 15,000 Telstra payphones are still in operation across Australia. Many of these have been repurposed as public WiFi hotspots for the Telstra Air network.

Rafael Mejia-Ortiz (Project Manager LiveWorkLearnPlay)
22Develop a data dashboard to track and monitor pandemic data.MeasureAllMunicipal + regional governmentsUnderstanding where pandemic transmission has happened can help communities in identify areas requiring intervention. Maintain site functionality for long-term pandemic preparedness.xxxEdmonton developed a Data Dashboard which focused on: Alberta Health Services Edmonton Zone Data; Temporary Shelters; COVID-19 Related Complaints; Peace Officer Patrols; Business Related Investigations; Public Health Act Tickets.
23Implement the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' COVID-19 Street Rebalancing Guide.Policy, Design Manual, UDOMovePolicy, street design regulation amendment, & applicationTemporary street design organized by: 1. Why Street Design Matters; 2. What Cities Have Done; 3. Challenges and Opportunities; 4. Planning and Design; 5. Toolbox and Design Guidancexxxxxx
24Implement the Happy City and Canadian Urban Institute's Rapid Placemaking to Bring Back Main Street: A Pandemic Recovery Toolkit for Local Communities.Policy, Design ManualMovePolicy, street design regulation amendment, & applicationTemporary Main Street interventions keyed to Happy City elements of wellbeing, cost to implement, and winter cities.xxxxx
25Develop virtual neighbourhood tour webpages.Public Private PartnershipAllMunicipal + provincial/state governmentsTo promote businesses and facilities, their hours of operation, their pandemic considerations, as part of virtual neighbourhood tours. Use Esri Storymaps.xxxWebsite: Things That Are Open Edmonton
26Lower barriers to providing shared package consolidation services.Public Private PartnershipAllCommunity organizationSupports method of providing affordable pickup and delivery services for at home businesses and smaller firms; minimizes unnecessary commercial vehicle activity; prevents unnecessary space allocation for storage and loading/unloading in non-residential uses.xxxx
27Enable drive-in theatres.ZoningPlayCode amendment & applicationReduce parking regs; sound transmitted by FM radioxxxx
28Enable micromobility.Street ManualMoveText editAllocate lanes based on speed. Sidewalks [pedestrians, motorized wheelchairs, skateboards? deliverybots? e-skateboards?] Bike lanes [bikes, e-bikes, e-scooters? deliverybots?] New mobility lanes [bikes (human and e-bikes), scooters (human and electric), mopeds? deliverybots (all under 20mph)?] It's a street segment exercise.xxxLower Merion Township in PA just outside Philly looks at micro mobility options via this StoryMap:
29Implement the Canadian Resilient Cities Declaration.Policy and ZoningAllPolicy, code amendment, & applicationOrganized by 1) Land use; 2) Decarbonization; 3) Sustainability in built & natural environments. Many of the specific items in this compendium help implement.xxxxxxCanadian Resilient Cities Declaration
30Implement Chuck Marohn’s “Toolkit for Local Leaders.” Policy and ZoningAllPolicy, code amendment, & application Many of the specific items in this compendium help implement.xxxxxxStrong Town's Toolkit for Local Leaders
31Enable Garden Streets on pedestrian-priority streets.PlansMoveText editAccess to naturexxxLondon
32Develop a Landscape Module and Street Sections to increase access to nature.ZoningDwellZoningIn addition to health and psychological benefits, greener cities may also be more resilient to future pandemics. Enable wider sidewalks.xxxxA recent Harvard study has indicated a possible correlation between air pollution and the likelihood of dying from Covid-19 in the US study detected COVID-19 on pollutant particles, but are still analyzing if this may aid its spread.
33Develop a plan to transition in-person development and building permit applications online.PolicyAllMunicipal governmentsTo support ongoing applications for development and building permits; without the need for in-person intake.xxxxEdmonton transitioned application processes as part of an eServices initiative. All applications can be advanced through
34Capitalize and as necessary subsidize neighborhood main streets.PPPDine, ShopMunicipal governmentsStreamline creation of BIDs where they don't exist; re-brand local shopping as essential servicesxxxxChicago- tall building developers pay into a linkage fund; 3 distributions/year support independently owned businesses in "emerging market areas" i.e. on the south & west side of Chicago
35Expand transit frequency & hours of service.PolicyMoveTransit Board or Council direction and budget amendmentNecessary for social distancing; reduces agency reliance on rush hours; expands transit targeting from commuting (15% of household trips) to all trip-makingxxxxxChicago Transit Authority director publicly committed to this
36Offer one-stop packages of basic energy & water services including conservation and retrofit.PPPAllCoordination of funds from City, State/Province, Federal governments, utilities, foundationsAffordable basic service needed to maintain health; overuse raises costs for everyone and stresses system; conservation lowers the cost of living for households and the cost of doing business for small businessesxxxElevate Energy in Chicago, coordinates funds from city, utilities, foundations, State and federal agencies; provides knowledgeable TA, contracting and financing in single transaction
37Transition public service provision from cash to touchless transactions.PolicyMoveMunicipal + provincial/state governmentsMove away from cash/coin-based transit and others, to card-based/touchless
38Review CityShare/Canada for new resources, tools and stories-AllCompendium of ideasA real-time, crowdsourced platform that houses resources, tools, and stories on how city builders and residents are responding to COVID-19xxxxxx
39Provide public washrooms and handwashing stations.PolicyDine, ShopPolicy statement & administrationTouchless, frequent cleaning, and sanitizer outside the bathroom. No air-stirring hand dryers.xxxxCity’s lack of public restrooms blamed for their parking tickets, dehydration, and incidence of diabetes
Additional considerations:
Andrés Duany: Topic one: buildings delivered by a grey economy. There will be less available money—consider labor, barter, successional construction. Topic two: building types that are dense but not crowded. Topic three: urbanism that enables overlapping perimeters for those you trust to not infect you. Particular emphasis on the difficulty posed by unruly little kids and the young who must eventually meet. Topic four: dwellings that provide some of the functions ideally available at the neighborhood scale. Topic five. An aesthetic that says: clean, healthy, sunny. Topic six: levels of governance that coincide precisely with the increments of urbanism.
Brent Bellamy, Winnipeg Free Press: Encourage stronger incentives for antimicrobial building finishes (coatings, paints, fabrics, flooring, wall coverings and other building finishes — it isn’t just brass that helps). Touch-less technology (auto doors and sinks, voice activated elevators, light switches, and thermostats), touch-free design that doesn’t require doors to washrooms, levers instead of full-clasp knobs. Medical screening technologies for airports and other large gatherings. Salutogenic building design (Cross ventilation, large operable windows for access to sunlight and fresh air, views to nature).
Ash & Lime Podcast: Coffee, Covid & Conversation
CNU on the Park Bench: webinar series:
Dave Gordon: FCM, COVID-19 Street Rebalancing Guide,
Reasons it matters:
Forbes article: “Communities that offer walkable, mini town centers with green space and a diversity of retail and restaurant activities, while still situated within ride-hailing distance from the big city, may find themselves attracting Millennials, Gen X’ers, and Boomers alike.”

“It’s easier to scare people than un-scare them.” Policy matters. “It’s also much easier to confine people than establish rules for safe, smooth deconfinement.” (Andre Picard, Globe & Mail, 2020)

"A seismic demographic shift toward smaller cities thanks to remote work may change the narrative of the past 200 years.” (Post-Pandemic Migration from Expensive Cities Likely As 1 in 4 Newly Remote Employees Expect Work-From-Home to Continue, Redfin, 2020)

A recent CNU On the Park Bench points out: “Top-tier cities have taken a powerful hit to their reputations and allure, because cultural amenities like food and the arts are closed down and unavailable—and these cities also include the epicenters of the pandemic. Second- and third-tier cities are perceived as safer and may be in a better position as COVID-19 wanes. Communities with walkable urbanism that are outside of city centers have advantages, due to their sense of community, cultural amenities, and perceived safety.
List is close to infinite, so stopped. Additions welcome.