Time for a rethink?

2nd November 2020

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Hello, and welcome to another edition of Transform magazine.

Around the world, the pandemic is still having severe effects on the global economy and health. Many countries are limiting citizens' ability to socialise, with restaurants and bars operating limited hours or closing altogether. While some nations appear to be through the worst, others face months of restrictions during festive periods such as Christmas, Diwali and Hanukkah. This has left many asking whether we need to fundamentally reassess our current systems and processes, to reduce the chance of this happening again.

One activist and thinker with a clear view of where the future should take us is Dr Vandana Shiva, who I had the pleasure to talk to for this issue (p12). Dr Shiva has the ability of all great thinkers to link disparate and complex concepts together to form a powerful narrative. You may not agree with everything she says, but she provides a powerful challenge to current food systems and global trade.

“COVID-19 has left many asking whether we need to fundamentally reassess our current systems and processes“

Another dramatic change is in the way we use public transport. From airports around the world that now look like ghost towns, to the drastically reduced number of people using rail and urban transit systems, the pandemic has forced many in these sectors to think again about the future. We have a series of articles this month looking at how cycling, shipping and rail systems are shaping themselves and adapting.

It was impossible not to be struck by pictures from earlier this year, when much of the world was in total lockdown, of deserted city centres from London to New York to Beijing. But have you ever stopped to wonder whether your own urban space is 'male'? This is the thought-provoking challenge from Leslie Kern, whose new book looks at cities from a feminist perspective (p28). She says lack of public space and toilet facilities, as well as inaccessible public transport, are just a few ways in which the feminine is edited out of our shared places – a point of view to consider as we think about how we want to repopulate our community areas in the future.

Have a great month, and thank you, as always, for your passion and support.

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