Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Coronavirus Time to Replan and Redesign Our Cities

Everyone is talking about when we  get back to normal. The answer is never. We should not be considering getting back to normal. Normal is what caused the spread of the coronavirus in the first place, we need to change our behaviour and part of that also requires changing the planning and design of our cities.

As I mentioned in the previous post, ancient cities were fortress and walled cities. One thing about a walled city is that it is easier to keep people prisoner in the city than keep the enemy out. From which can surmise, and expand to the concept that it is easier to lock a population in than to lock them out, and thus for border control will always have problem of infiltration. Still in tackling the spread of a contagion like coronavirus, locking a population in, would be beneficial on condition that the population has access to appropriate goods and services with in its own walls. Our towns and cities don't. I've written previously about how bridges wreck the economies of cities, how an optional need for a bridge is transformed into a dependency on the bridge, as business redistributes either side of the bridge. I've argued how we need to directly protect diversity, not protect competition. That economy of scale has benefits, but we also need to avoid concentration of pollutants and dependency on single supplier. We need to known when to boost production to saturate basic need then to scale back and provide more diversity. Henry Ford was right that customer can have any colour they want as long as its black: that is the requirement to supply the basic need in the first instance. Once the basic need satisfied, then can start to get particular.

Any case as mentioned the governments want to increase population density as a consequence of their perspective on urban sprawl. Part of their perspective is that urban sprawl is a consequence of the car, I believe that whilst this is partially so, it is mostly nonsense. Business and architects have been building massive facilities, with reach stretching for kilometres. An office building in the city has people travelling 25 km daily, some even 100 km daily. I read one National Geographic article where a person was spending 4 hours or more each day travelling to some distant location to work. Basically houses affordable one end of country and work available at the other. It equates to poor city and national planning.

Sure part of the problem is workers themselves wanting dormitory suburbs devoid of industry, or at least devoid of the noise and pollution created by industry. But if there is no business of any kind in the suburbs, then the next generation has to travel a significant distance to search for employment: and that generally requires they have a car. How are school leavers going to afford a car? The people of the world aren't the kids in American high school movies, owning cars. Typical families cannot afford to buy cars for their kids, and jobs for kids to work after school hours or on weekends are very few. It is part of the pressure that have to do well in school and get a degree to get a good job.

It would be preferable if we restricted the geographical reach of business facilities, and also the market share of business. As I mentioned in an earlier post, political parties should be restricted to no more than 20% of the seats, so that we can get back to due and proper representation of the people , instead of political parties hijacking our government and contending they have mandates. Afterwards I then extended this to business, restricting them to no more than 20% of the market, where market is defined on multiple levels. So whilst a supermarket may have less than 20% of the national market, when looked at locally it may hold 80% of the market, and so in a local market it may have to adjust.

In the metro areas supermarkets and/or small shopping centres tend to be at 1 km to 2 km centres, and so are in easy walking distance. Though few people walk to them, and that is largely because here in South Australia footpaths are rare. Where there are footpaths there is a chance that the footpath suddenly comes to an end. People thus tend to spend a lot of their time in their cars, wasting fuel and time driving in circles until they can get a carpark as close as possible to a building. To make our cities walkable we first have to make our suburbs walkable. Things are already potentially in walking distance: it's just not convenient to do so.

After my heart attack, I looked on google earth at places I lived when I was a kid, and the places I walked to, to get an idea of how far I could walk, and thus how far I still expect to be able to walk. When looking at places in England, it was apparent, that the construction of motorways, now made it next to impossible to walk the paths I once did. Civil engineers seem more interested in constructing mega-structures, bridges over bridges, than coming up with livable spaces. Here in South Australia, they seem bent on creating the same kind of mess. We may be able to halt that.

The towns and suburbs should be capable of being isolated. No point in referring to the city of Elizabeth or city of Tea Tree Gully (TTG), if all the suburbs making up these cities are otherwise identified as suburbs of Adelaide. Not the least of which is Elizabeth was supposed to be a satellite city: so by definition it should have remained isolated from Adelaide. Gawler is a rural town and it should also remain isolated from Adelaide. That is the grid of urban sprawl, of dormitory suburbs should not spread across the lad between the city centres. There should be clear boundaries between one local government (LG) area and the next.

The network of roads for cars should be more like the network of rails for trains, we should have more intermodal systems, with the ultimate part of the system being on foot and walking. I'm not suggesting get rid of vehicles being able to reach buildings for delivery. However not all buildings need access to large mechanised vehicles. Secondly the majority of items in a building have to be able to pass through a 900 mm wide door way or smaller. So tricycles and smaller mechanised vehicles can be used for transporting most things.

So we can gate of roads for large vehicles, and only allowing access to small personal transporters. The large vehicles have to stop at the gates and be granted access. So for example in Adelaide, we could place carparks around the periphery of the parklands, and only allow human powered vehicles and small electric vehicles into the city. These carparks will also be where the buses also stop unless the buses are electric vehicles. The buses can have electronic passes so they can automatically open access gates.

So in developing the means of limiting vehicle access we are also providing the means of locking the city or suburb up. The road network should provide clearly identifiable corridors between clearly identifiable towns: there should be no grid of roads spread out between the towns.

Increasing the population density of the capital cities is not the requirement. Clearly high population density increases the potential for the spread of a contagion like coronavirus, and it also increases the potential problems when confronted by other attacks by nature: bushfires, earthquakes, hurricanes (tropical cyclones {don't drop the word tropical the entire weather system is dependent on cyclones and anticyclones}).

A capital city is primarily expected to be a cultural, and administrative centre, not a place with a high resident population: but a place which is visited and likely infrequently. Population is preferably concentrated around those hubs which provide needed goods and services with in walking distance of homes.

Schools should be such that all housing within 1 km radius is restricted access and rent only, likewise housing around hospitals. The housing around large industrial facilities or commercial centres should also be rent only and access restricted to those working in the facilities. People are buying housing further and further a drift from their workplaces because they wish to, they are mostly doing so because they have no choice.

Rent only restrictions, moves people in and out of the areas. For example by restricting access to housing in the vicinity of schools, the entire street network around the schools can be made walkable and cars have limited to no access to the area. Children can then walk to school, and otherwise have an environment which includes the school grounds for play outside school hours. The youngest children are placed closest to the school, and the oldest furthest from the school. In this way we don't have to keep building new schools. We only build new schools if we build a new village, town or city. A suburban block, should be built around a hub, either industrial, commercial, cultural, educational, or health focused. These suburban blocks should then be built around an administrative and retail hub.

For example we can define a village as 1 km in diameter, a town as 5 km to 10 km in diameter, and a city as 100 km in diameter. A suburban block likely to be the size of a village (say 1 km x l km square), the central hub can be around 500 m square. In thus block can place around 5000 single storey dwellings.  Each dwelling suitable for one person is suitable for two people and a small child. Thus the population can be extended to 15,000. If add second storey to the houses, then houses suitable for 2 adults and 2 children, so population can expand to 20,000. The highest population densities around the world are around 100, 000 person/sq.km. So with multi-storey buildings the population of the areas can be increased still further. Though I suggest we should put more effort into controlling population growth, not pushing the ideas of economic growth requiring larger populations.

Cities are machines. To function and provide certain goods and services a certain population is needed (the cogs which make the machine function). This does not mean that world population needs to grow, rather it requires the current world population to be in the right place. I've previously mentioned that if the land mass was to be divided into cells 5 km in diameter, then the world population could distribute 1000 people per cell. Those 1000 people need less than a 1 km square for housing. For simplicity assuming a 5 km square grid, it would put a 4 km ring between each village. That ring could be a nature reserve or agricultural land. Now I'm not suggesting we distribute the world population in such manner. Not the least of which is we can house a lot more people in each 5 km cell than 1000 people.

What I am suggesting though is that a lot of facilities can be placed in a 500 m x 500 m hub, that activity can be made more local, and that localities can be isolated, yet connected. That the connections can be blocked, can be severed.

As I mentioned in the previous post, the corinavirus should not have spread further than 1 km radius of the discrete entry points to each nation. When the epidemic was reported in China, then each nation should have responded to prevent a pandemic. When pandemic was declared then each nation needs respond to prevent a epidemic in their nation. Just because their is a pandemic does not mean there is a epidemic in your nation. For certain the horse had already bolted when the gate was closed. However as I said, we still have passenger lists to track returned locals, and the suburbs they returned to. Plus we have rough idea of tourist destinations. So using a geographical information system (GIS) we could track the local government (LG) areas which these returning individuals likely visited. We can lock down these LG areas.

But assuming its got out off hand and its spread into the cities. We know its spread into the cities because the hospitals are dealing with cases. The hospitals have a radial reach. Their patients are arriving from known suburbs. Those suburbs have shopping centres and other public places. Each of these public places has a roughly known radial reach. So once again using a GIS we can map out the region most likely affected. Without any other information, we can assume various radial reaches for each facility. So we can mark a 1 km zone, a 5 km zone, and a 25 km zone. Each zone we give a hazard level, the closest to the point of origin has the highest hazard level, the most distant the lowest hazard level. As we identify people in the 1 km zone, we change from a point of origin to a path, and define the radial zones about this path. The path notionally defines a direction of travel, and the localities where resources need to be committed.

At the moment we have a response which says its an epidemic: but its not all over the country, there is a good chance it will be if we handle it as if it already is spread far and wide. We did not need to shut down the national economy, to shutdown all public gatherings and all public businesses. They needed shutting down where the contagion was and is. We don't know where that is! Really! For certain there are people out there who maybe spreading the contagion without knowing it, but there also millions of people out there not spreading anything. But clearly its being spread where people are known to be infected. Is that your neighbourhood, chances are the answer is no. Does this mean you can ignore safeguards? No it doesn't! When restrictions are lifted does this mean you can go back to normal? No it doesn't! Normal got you into this situation in the first place, normal needs to change.

Places are too crowded, and they are crowded because business is permitted to construct facilities to cater for large uncontrolled crowds of people from distant locations. For example there is no real need for people to shop in Adelaide, and there shouldn't be permitted to encourage people to chop in Adelaide. Forget about the never ending arguing about shopping hours every year, the reach of Rundle mall business should be restrained. People don't need to travel into the city, they should shop locally. If they shop locally it will reduce traffic congestion into the city, it will strengthen local community, and also reduce the potential spread of any future contagion beyond the city hub. Local shopping precincts need to be restored and enhanced, and should be within walking distance. Planning regulations should permit doing so.

Planning regulations also need to be modified to better encourage home business. Currently most of South Australia's development plans restrict home business to an area of 30 sq.m. Which is an area of 5 m x 6m, which is approximately 2 x 6m shipping containers side by side. Which seems like plenty of space, but I suggest it may be preferable to define limitations based on area of land: which takes into consideration required parking areas for residents, employees and customers. Whilst parking areas shouldn't be based on area used by business but on predicted traffic levels. For most home business probably looking at no more than 1 customer vehicle per hour: maximum. For many probably in the range of 1 vehicle per month: with most activity occurring by post, fax, phone, email, or web site.

There have already been complaints that local bricks and mortar business are loosing business to online business. The lock down for the cornavirus will result in increased use of online sales, which will likely increase demand for couriers. Noting that local business can use couriers to supply faster than Australia post. When the lock down is over, will there really be need to fill the offices and retail stores? If people can work from home, why not have them work from home all the time, and only meet up in person occasionally? That way only need to rent large office space for a meeting possibly once a month.

Taking note that don't have to pay people by the hour, because really business is not buying time. Traditionally people got paid wages, if work was intermittent such as daily or weekly. People got paid salaries because, what they needed to do, and when it needed to be done was uncertain, so they got paid by the year. How many hours the workers work is largely irrelevant, what the workers accomplish is more relevant. If a worker completes their workload in half the time working from home, you don't pay them half the pay. Completing the work faster should be worth more, so the workers should get paid more for the work completed. Or otherwise spend less time working and get the same pay. Also if people working from home are more productive, then they can be fed more work. Though they are unlikely to want to maintain the same pace and effort throughout the year: so may experience a short term spike in productivity followed by a return to more sustainable production levels.

Any case an increased use of the internet and online sales and online business, will see a reduced need for commercial/industrial building space, and an increase in residential renovations to create home business and work space. This will reduce traffic congestion, at the traditional peak times of the day. However there should be an upsurge in the need for couriers and small delivery vans taking goods to houses, and between houses. This should use far less fuel than all the commuters travelling back and forth to distant work places. Even though people may place orders at different times and different days, the suppliers can still optimise their delivery times and days and travel routes, so that delivering to the same street as few times ass possible. (We used to have bread and milk delivered to the door stop. so its not that difficult).

Most of our modern world is highly wasteful and inefficient. Cars and mobile phones mostly promote poor planning, incompetence and inefficiency. The supply of simple goods and services does not require human interaction, if you have to use a telephone to get information and complete a transaction then the suppliers supply systems are inefficient. If have to meet face to face, or in person, then highly inefficient. Human interaction maybe sociable, but its not efficient. How important is sociable to the supply, versus efficiency of supply? If efficiency of supplier is more important and should have higher priority, then should aim to eliminate people from the transaction process.

... to be continued ...

Related Posts

[31/03/2020] : Original

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Coronavirus: Unnecessary Panic and Shutdown

Whilst coronavirus (COVID-19) can result in death, most people recover. More importantly the point of origin of the virus is purported to be China. The only way it can get to a neighbourhood near you is via a discrete point of entry to your country. That is it has to cross the border or coastline and whilst these are continuous the legal entry to a country is at discrete points, these being border crossings, airports and (sea)ports. At these controlled entry points, entry involves, passports, visa's, tickets and passenger lists. If everything is working well I don't expect anything to get beyond 1 km radius of such entry point. I expect it is possible to quarantine and shut everything down within 1 km radius of such entry point, and that systems exist and are already in place to be able to do so: part of the forward planning and management of borders.

Now occasionally something may get through the border controls, due to it either being not detectable or otherwise not being checked for in the first instance. In which case time passes and the gate is closed after the event. From the control documents for persons entering, we should know the point of destination for locals returning. We don't need to know who they are, all we need to know is the suburb they are returning to. From the suburb we get the local government authority district (LGAD) or council area, that the suburb is located. We only need shut down the local council area, not the nation, and not the state.

Further more from the point of entry, we know the path to get to the suburbs where the returning locals reside. Each public facility along that path also has a certain reach. For example supermarkets are typically at 1 km too 2 km centres: so they have a rough reach of 0.5 km to 1 km. Some larger facilities have a reach of 5 km, and the large shopping malls, plaza's and precincts have reach of 25 km or so. The state capital cities have reach across the state, but not every day of the week.

So using a geographical information system (GIS) it should be possible to map out, a zone where the infection is likely to spread, and lock that region down. That is lock down local council areas, not the entire city, not the entire state and not the entire nation. To shutdown the entire nation, the national economy and cause national panic is irresponsible.

With  a local council area locked down, people within that council area can go about business as usual. Deliveries of goods and services can be made into the area, but not from the area, unless it supplies something not available from elsewhere. People living in the area, but working outside the area are confined to the area, and therefore cannot go to work, unless the job does not pose an issue. More over the local council areas in the infected zone which is locked down, will be neighbouring, so as long as can travel to work place with in the locked down zones, can travel between council areas.

It is inconsiderate of people in the Adelaide metropolitan area to be traveling 100 km's or more into the remote rural towns and emptying the supermarket shelves. To start with the metro supermarkets must have incompetent management if they cannot keep the shelves full. The rural towns typically have low demand, and are typically unable to supply all the needs of the local population on a regular basis. It is somewhat akin to living on an island, with the ship coming in once a year, and stock up when the ship arrives. So city dwellers coming up and emptying our shelves is not appreciated. 

Secondly, the point of origin of the infection, for the state is the metropolitan area. Some 2/3rd's of  the Australian population is in the state capitals, and around 1/3rd of the population in the remote regions. The remote regions thus have the potential to keep on with business as usual and avoid infection, if infection is locked down in the metro areas. So the city dwellers shouldn't be spreading the infection into the rural towns.

It is also to be noted that one theory is that 60% of the population needs to be infected for herd immunity to kick in. The 2/3rd's population in the cities is near enough the 60%, so locking the cities down and restricting traffic to the remote and rural regions seems like a reasonable imposition.

It is lunacy that people 150 km or more from the nearest infected region have to comply with national restrictions, and social distancing. It is an unnecessary imposition and inconvenience, and excessive impact on the economy. The government should act to shut the panic down, not shut the economy or nation down.

If we lock a suburb down, then the first issue will notice, is that most suburbs are worthless dormitory regions with no local services. If shut a local council area down, then will notice that there is also a lack of local services. So the question is why is there a lack of services? What kind of development and planning approval is taking place that large regions are devoid of local services.

Take the Yorke Peninsula for example, this is split into two major council areas: the Copper Coast (CC) council district (area: 773 sq.km, pop:14,139), and Yorke Peninsula (YP) council district (area: 5834 sq.km, pop:11,056). The largest commercial town in the area would be Kadina in the CC area, with a population of 4,857. So people in the YP area have to travel out of the area into the CC area for major shopping. Towns in the region are some 25 km apart with less than 1000 people, typically around 100 to 200 people. People expect to travel 25 km to 100 km to get their shopping done, as local stores don't have the local population to sustain stores with large variety of goods.

Whilst in the metro area there are supermarkets approximately every 1 km, servicing populations measured in 1000's. Major wholesale warehouses are in the metro area, most factories are in the metro areas, and the airports and seaports where imported goods arrive are part of the metro area. So why are metro supermarkets running out of goods?

Sure there maybe a 24 hour to 48 hour delay if panic buying empties the shelves? But that should not generate an incentive for people in the metropolitan area to travel over 100 km to do grocery shopping when usually only travel 1 km to 5 km. Why panic buying in any case, and what's the great demand for toilet paper?

Shouldn't be any panic buying. Admittedly once upon a time my parents got paid monthly, so got used to monthly shopping. Have pantry and fridge and freezer. Generally have a months supply of groceries in any case. Even so, there are still some things which have to buy weekly or fortnightly, very little if anything which need to buy daily. The fridge and freezer and cupboards have limited space. But there are only a few things which are perishable and do not last long even if kept in a refrigerator. Most of such perishable things you do not necessarily need. You wouldn't take perishable food stuffs on an expedition. You would take long life food stuffs: canned food, powdered and dried food stuffs. Food stuffs which do not require a fridge or freezer.

No need to buy in bulk, nor a need to spend extra money if you can't afford to. Just change what you usually buy, buy fewer perishables and get some extra canned foods. Also no need to buy in bulk, just get an extra can or pack during each ordinary shopping day, and build up reserves slowly. That way industry can also slowly build up production, and both manufacturing, wholesale and retailers can keep stock in supply. Noting that some businesses are shutting down, as a consequence of unnecessary panic. Sure if know going into quarantine, may need to buy extra. Then again there are all those people who get in a panic when have long weekends, a mere extra day, so the prospect of a fortnight or month in quarantine, definitely not going to cope.

As for the northern hemisphere, what's all this rubbish about isolation and keeping kids occupied? What do you normally do every single year during the winter months? As I recollect being a kid in England, walked to school in the wind, rain and snow: but during the school break trapped in doors. So travelling in bad weather accepted, but playing out in it, less acceptable. Point is being trapped in the house for days, weeks, or a few months is part of every year life: so shouldn't be an issue. Secondly hasn't everyone been complaining for years that kids spend too much time in doors, first complaints about reading, then watching TV, and these days playing video games or using social networking websites? So doubly, shouldn't be an issue.

As for social distancing I would contend that people get too close to one another in public spaces in the first place, and that shaking hands is a relatively dumb trait (mainly because I don't overly appreciate getting my hand crushed by halfwits who have read some junk pop psychology. Fools who will find out the hard way how wrong the psychology is.)


So consider that our towns are poorly designed, as a consequence of becoming reliant on privately owned mechanised transport. There are calls to increase population density. The architects seem to have taken this as a need for more grandiose multi-storey buildings: which I contend is a mistake. As I have mentioned before urban sprawl is not created by the car, but by architects and their multi-storey buildings and other large facilities. These facilities draw a workforce from distant locations and supply to distant locations. That is these buildings have an unacceptable radial reach. It is a planning issue, to restrict the size of buildings in an area, and also to restrict their reach and catchment areas (hinterlands).

As far as I know part of the incentive for building codes stemmed from two major events: the great fire of London (1666) and the great plague of London (1665 to 1666), along with cholera out break of 1854. In both cases the primary problem was a lack of isolation and circulation between buildings. In the one case the problem was access to and around buildings to fight fires, in the other there was a lack of ventilation and air circulation. On the other hand the circulation and movement of people otherwise contributed to the spread of disease. Though any significant building code didn't eventuate until the  London Building Act 1844 : in other words slow to respond. (Not quite:Rebuilding  of London Act 1666, and Rebuilding of London Act 1670 ).

Any case our historical fortress cities, and rural villages could for the most part be isolated and locked down, whilst modern sprawling suburbs are more difficult to lock down, and remote rural villages are a few hours drive away, not several days walk.

I've mentioned before that whilst South Australia has many council regions, some of which are referred to has cities, the suburbs of these regions are all listed as suburbs of Adelaide. Our development act shouldn't just place limits on separation distances between buildings, it should also separate and keep separated the cities, the towns and the villages. There wasn't any point in building the satellite City of Elizabeth and then allow urban sprawl to join it to the Adelaide metropolitan area, nor for the rural town of Gawler to become increasingly connected into the metropolitan area. In all this urban sprawl market gardens have disappeared under housing. Agriculture seems to keep moving north, closer and closer to the Goyder's Line. It doesn't seem sensible.

If we kept nature strips between villages, towns and cities, and minimised the number of connector roads between. Then they can be isolated more readily than sprawling suburban grids. More importantly each community has more localised facilities and is not dependent on modern technology. The car isn't entirely necessary. Trains can shift cargo, as can small trucks and vans.

People are considered able to walk at about 5 km/hr and cycling considered to be about 4 times faster, so around 20 km/h. People already spend around 1 hour stuck in cars to travel less than 20 km. Whilst my contention is that an industrial city state should be 100 km diameter, a town 5 km to 10 km diameter, a village 1 km diameter, and estates 100 m diameter. All of which get isolated by nature strips. Assuming can travel for 5 hours each day, then can walk 25 km/day, or cycle 100 km/day. Travelling from the perimeter to the hub of a 5 km diameter town would thus be a 30 minute walk, and at the hub most of the needs can be bought. I find it strange that as a kid we used to walk 2 km to 4 km to do the weekly shopping using a shopping trolley, no car needed: whilst monthly shopping was a car trip to a distant supermarket to buy bulk items.

If we restricted the reach of buildings, as far as it is practical to do so, then local communities would be stronger, and more resilient, and service quality would improve. Not the least of which the customer you upset lives at the end of your street, or at least in your local neighbourhood, not out of town.

If we strengthen local business and protect diversity rather than competition, unemployment should reduce, and energy usage should also drop.

It should also be noted that the response to a pandemic and epidemic is no different for a nation. About the only difference it makes is if the nation is dependent on imports for its survival, in which case it may have difficulty getting what it needs.

Now what we have with urban sprawl is increased potential for contact and transmission of contaminants of all kinds. With isolated communities, say villages within towns, and towns within cities, then have increased potential to isolated, and otherwise continue business as usual.

The layout of our cities is a mater of defence and security. The current response to a pandemic/epidemic has demonstrated a lack of security: bio-weapons can easily bring the worlds nations to their knees. The response is some what pathetic given that the majority of people infected with COVID-19 have recovered and will recover.

As it is, here in SA we could put a barrier across Port Wakefield road, and prevent those from the Adelaide metropolitan area travelling to the North West of the state. For that matter it is a major failing that infection has already spread to the Barossa Valley approximately 75.4 km from Adelaide, no way should it have been permitted for the virus to transmit more than 25 km from the centre of Adelaide. Whilst there are some long back ways to some places, for the most part there is one and only one way to get to most of the remote towns.

Locals returning from overseas, we should have been able to track their destinations. Tourists, shouldn't have been able to leave the proximity of airports and (sea)ports. For certain we have the problem of those people who left and dispersed before we knew we needed to track. But tourists mostly visit tourist destinations. So once again we have a few places we can lock down and isolate.

There is no need to shut businesses down or pubic events. As I said we are some 150 km away from where the infected are. The doctors, dentists have gone into isolation. The local gym has shutdown.

I understand why I just had an appointment with cardiologist over the telephone, instead of the appointment I originally had for face to face in Kadina. Normally the cardiologist travels from Adelaide all the way to Kadina, and I likewise have to travel around 50 km to up the Yorke Peninsula to Kadina. Adelaide is where the infections are, so we don't want people from Adelaide potentially spreading the infection to the north. But since we haven't got infections, I don't see why local dentists, gym and other facilities need close.

Not the least of which the gym is used by rehab patients, recovering from various conditions: heart attack, COPD, cancer, etc... Apparently my heart ejection fraction hasn't improved after 12 months at the gym, but neither has it deteriorated. The doctor wants to put me on more medication, and now I've got to find some other way to get exercise (I'm a problem as I don't fit the text book solution: no high blood pressure, never smoked, don't drink, and as for being over weight everyone says BMI meaningless. Primarily thin as are most people in the rehab group, more a concern if we lost weight.). Going to the gym, was only reason not to be at home, and not to be working at computer. It is unnecessary to be closing specific types of business across the entire nation.  Yet I am meant to go to the chemist and get the new medication (prescription being posted out), and then with in a or week go to local doctors to get blood tests.

Sure we don't know where the virus maybe, but we do know where it is, and where it can spread from. So unless it arrives in a neighbourhood near you, there is nothing to panic about, and even if it does arrive, and you get the thing, you are more likely to recover than die.

As mentioned above rural towns are small, typically with one road through, if you blink whilst travelling then you might not notice the towns. These towns can be shut off, but there is no need to, because the infection has not reached that far, and it shouldn't because the metro area in the vicinity of the airport should be shut off.

So there maybe people out there who do not yet know they have the virus, but once they do know, we shut off their neighbourhood. That could be a suburban block or a single street. From any individual we can identify friends and relatives they may have been in contact with, and so have additional neighbourhoods to monitor and/or shutdown. It maybe slow but it doesn't throw the population into turmoil and wreak havoc on the economy. We simply identify, trap and isolate the contamination and stop it spreading from a source. If there ain't no source, it ain't gonna spread.

Therefore there should be no need to shutdown where there is no existing source of infection.

{I was interrupted 3 times and lost my track. The basic gist, is that the way our towns and cities are designed impacts on our capacity to isolate locally. The building blocks are too big, we should have smaller villages, within towns, and towns within cities.}

Additional Reading: (the stuff you ought to read)

  1. WHO COVID-19 dashboard
  2. Coronavirus disease (COVID-2019) situation reports
  3. Coronavirus (COVID-19) current situation and case numbers
  4. Government response to the COVID-19 outbreak | Australian Government Department of Health
  5. The maths and ethics of minimising COVID-19 deaths | Pursuit by The University of Melbourne
  6. Imperial-College-COVID19-NPI-modelling-16-03-2020.pdf
  7. What is herd immunity?
  8. Will warming spring temperatures slow the coronavirus outbreak?
  9. View from The Hill: Entertainment venues closed in draconian measures to fight the virus
Architecture, Population Density, Housing and Climate
  1. Density by stealth: A house for Gen Y
  2. Housing Diversity: Adapting 1.0 Infrastructure for 3.0 Lives
  3. What Would Boyd Do? A Small Homes Service for Today
  4. Infrastructure priorities in the face of bushfires, floods and droughts
  5. Ethical and scientifically sound architectural solutions to the climate crisis
  6. Public spaces bind cities together. What happens when coronavirus forces us apart?
  7. Outbreaks like coronavirus start in and spread from the edges of cities

Related Posts

[26/03/2020] : Original

Friday, March 13, 2020

Secure Identity using myGovID Flawed

This seems like an extremely flawed and insecure system. First there is the arrogant view that it would be irresponsible not to update phone to new purported more secure system. But if security is an issue, then the requirement for the irresponsible behaviour of  scanning identity documents and uploading them to be stored on some organisations servers, voids the benefit of the improved phone security. The system is not acceptable.

In the traditional approach people took their identity documents to an agency and an officer viewed the real documents. The identity documents are typically on non-standard paper sizes, in colour and are embossed or have water marks. The documents were photocopied in black and white, typically producing a copy surrounded by waste paper, or a document split onto two sheets of paper. The copy was stamped with a red stamp with the word "COPY", it was signed and dated by the officer witnessing the real documents. The copy was in no way a substitute for the original, but it was token evidence that such original documents had been presented to an officer of the agency.

With the introduction of colour photocopiers with memory store, it became increasingly viable to produce a replica document which could be used as a substitute for the original if not closely scrutinised. With scanners, wireless networking and roll form printers, preventing the creation of a substitute document became less and less viable. All the witnessing organisation requires is token evidence of having viewed the real documents: no colour photocopy/scan of the whole document is needed.

The system we have here with myGovID, is that a substitute document is used as proof of identity, and that is definitely not acceptable. Just needs someone to steal the substitute documents from say Paypal servers and upload to the ATO servers.  Not a problem right, its secure. These systems are so secure that we have to upgrade our phones on a regular basis, because the secure systems are not as secure as they are purported to be. The systems are perfectly secure until the suppliers wish to sell the next piece of electronic junk.

From memory the Australian population opposed the introduction of national identity number and photographic identity card, and the drivers license is only supposed to be used for traffic management.  Same population goes out buys mobile phone (personal identity number), with GPS tracking and camera, plasters their identity all over the internet, and complains about privacy and theft of identity. So maybe the government could assume the population is naive and gullible. However, one phone one identity is not valid, as some families just have the one mobile phone. The phone is carried by who ever is away from home, so they can contact home.

To get the phone need to provide name and address, at the very minimum so that can be billed for regular use. I don't recollect any need to provide proof of identity to buy. However suppose  impose one phone one identity, then the proof of identity needs to occur at the point of sale. Sales people and retailers become responsible for verifying identities: seems an onerous imposition.

If the MyGovID uses a scanned file uploaded to their servers, then just need to identify where the file is taken from and push the appropriate file into the transfer system. That is hacker steals identity documents from say Paypal, and pushes them to the ATO servers.  However, supposing when scan an identity document  with a mobile phone that no file is created on the phone and a data stream is sent direct to the ATO servers, where a file is created. So now the phones camera/scanner has to receive a document. Still don't need the original documents, only need the substitute documents which are seen at the other end of the communication channel. And if every naive organisation is requesting upload of identity documents then there is going to be plenty of servers to hack, from which to retrieve substitute documents. And identity is thus not secured.

I don't have an issue with Australia Post offices which issue passports checking identity documents, but once again they should not be permitted to scan and retain substitute documents. Putting the word "COPY" on the scanned document is also not acceptable, as no means of knowing if that is simply a screen display or actual change to a file. Even if it is a change to a file, it can be applied in a way that is easy to remove. Even if part of a bitmap, it may obliterate the underlying text, but it is still viable to develop an algorithm which finds the word COPY and removes, then other algorithms can attempt to fill in the missing image. Whilst probably not good enough to restore the document, such would depend on where the word "COPY" is written. If placed over standard stuff then relatively easy to restore, if over signatures then less viable to restore: But if signatures are obscured then the copy possibly of limited use.

So basically need to have witnessed the full original document, but only be permitted to partially scan the document, such as the signature strip. But then the signature strip could be easily used to create a new set of documents. So no copies or scanning permitted. Scanning is probably not necessary anyway as most of the documents have registration numbers of some description. So witness the original documents and record the relevant details. If make an error in some of the registration numbers then the documents won't reconcile with official records and relevant agency can request to check the original documents again. For certain can have the numbers without having the original documents. The issue however is having enough numbers from enough documents, that the identity is demonstrated to have been used consistently for a long time by the same person.

So not a secure system and requires releasing documents which place identity at even greater risk of being stolen. To not have an alternative system in place seems unreasonable.

Related Posts

[13/03/2020] : Original