Now well into its second year, the coronavirus pandemic has devastated communities around the world – not just in terms of the fatalities, ill health and mental anguish endured by so many, but also socially and economically, as the effects of lockdowns, travel restrictions, social distancing and commercial contraction have hit home.
Large, densely populated cities – as key vectors of infection – have been particularly vulnerable to these problems.
One such example is New York. For a time in April 2020, it was the global epicentre of the pandemic when 600 people a day were dying in the city’s hospitals and, even now, its 33,000-plus death count is still one of the highest of any city in the world. Outside those in China, it was one of the first global cities to enforce a lockdown, to see its commuters stay home, its hotels empty of tourists, and its public transport, shops, offices, theatres and restaurants fall silent.