The home is one of the key arenas in which the COVID-19 pandemic has been both fought and experienced. ‘Staying at home’ has been one of the main public health measures used to combat the spread of the virus. However, the ability to follow these guidelines varies tremendously due to both pre-existing inequalities and those that have either been introduced, or amplified because of the pandemic. While housing is central to this volume, it is becoming increasingly clear that discussions regarding housing, land use, urban form, economic development, transportation, and inequality that have long been treated as separate conversations need to be part of the same planning and policy debates. This was evident before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the need to think across disciplines and themes is more urgent now than ever. The chapters in this volume examine how varied housing issues intersect with work, proximity, ability, class, design, discrimination, and racism to magnify challenges; likewise, chapters in other volumes also discuss housing in reference to communities, public space and planning.
Living in overcrowded housing is strongly correlated to precarious, insecure, or insufficient employment income. Racism and racial discrimination limit the housing opportunities of many people. Many low-income residents in cities around the world have no choice but to reside in (socially and/or spatially) peripheral neighborhoods far from employment opportunities because that is all they can afford. These intersections produce a context where the virus can thrive, but also shapes our variegated experiences with urban life during the pandemic (McKee et al, 2020; Patel et al, 2020).
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