Pandemic showed the world what was unimaginable before December 2019. The world coming to a standstill and improvement in environmental conditions, were two of the most spectacular results of the pandemic. It highlighted the vulnerabilities in the modern world, especially in the healthcare infrastructure and urban planning.
Infrastructure sector is important for the economy as it has both short-term and long-term economic implications. In the short term, infrastructure helps by generating employment and ensuring cash flow in the economy. In the longer run, infrastructure ensures smooth and fast flow of people, material and services to all the parts of the nation, thus improving the quality of life.
Inclusion of green spaces in urban planning
Besides acting as the lungs of the cities, green spaces also enhance their beauty and provide recreational spaces for the citizens. They also help mitigate the impact of pollution. During the pandemic, the green spaces in the cities acted as buffer zones and helped control the spread of the virus to some extent. Green spaces in urban areas helped people regain control over their health. Therefore urban planners and authorities need to sincerely include strategic green spaces in the town planning. Also, there should be provision for blue-infrastructure to better manage the storm/rainwater, minimize its runoff, avoid flood of streets and use it to replenish the underground water table.
Use of sustainable means of development
Spending on green infrastructure can be done in two ways. The first could be creating green spaces in urban areas, restoring forest lands, water bodies and rainwater harvesting systems. These spaces help in environmental restoration and help ease the burden of environmental pollution. The second way could be the use of green techniques and materials in building the infrastructure. Green techniques include thorough study of the ecological, environmental and cultural impact of the projects on the project site and surrounding areas. Environment friendly construction materials such as recycled plastic, precast concrete slabs, fly-ash bricks etc should be employed in the construction of the projects. Similarly emphasis on non-polluting and non-motorized/electric transportation system should be given priority.
Covid-19 highlighted the helplessness of humans against the power of nature. It has also given us strong warning that we should start working towards restoring environmental balance. It can be a catalyst for sustainable relationship between human and environment. Human cannot survive without healthy environment and infrastructure; therefore it is imperative to start building green infrastructure to maintain environmental harmony with modern life.