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.
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 ...
[31/03/2020] : Original