The two metre society is here. A society where we have to socially distance ourselves by 2. We pass each other with a big nod, have a chat at what feels like a weird distance. As yet we haven’t been able to drink coffee together, but when we do, it’ll at both ends of the table. When retail shops open, like the supermarkets, we will be limited as to the numbers inside, but it’ll be the same for restaurants with plexiglass between the tables, cinemas at half capacity and every other aspect of our previous lifestyle. The new normal requires creativity in the use of space.
Around the world, the face of architecture is changing. The Dutch agency Shift Architecture Urbanism, for example, has already made a design for a so-called “micro market”. A market with up to three stalls that you can spread throughout the city. The micro market stands on a kind of checkerboard of squares, so that people are never less than one and a half meters apart.
Space is at a premium
The agency also worked out ideas for a one-way traffic system in walking areas and options for Rotterdam cafés to compensate for their lost terrace turnover by using more public space (source: EenVandaag). As a species, we adapt and its nice to see that new ideas immediately arise. But because of the distance we have to keep, walking routes become normal, rows seem extra long, or parks fill up faster. In other words, more space is needed. Where do we get that space around cities where space is already scarce?
The roof as a public space
This is the opportunity for project developers, urban planners and architects to include the roof as standard in designs. There is still so much unused space on the roof. Space to be used now! The roof as a public space. Think about the possibilities…
Two metre concerts
A restaurant with a roof terrace can receive more customers. A roof square to give two metre concerts. A roof park where groups can bootcamp. And all with a fantastic view! We have to be careful that it doesn’t get too crowded on the roof either. But an additional advantage is that a roof, usually, cannot be accessed from all sides. So access to the roof can be regulated right away. The roof offers so many opportunities to shape the two meter society!