Researchers are finding that population density is not associated with higher death rates from COVID-19.
Unfortunately, some people still blame compact housing and transit for pandemic spikes, and use that misinformation to promote sprawling residential development and disinvestment in transit in the name of health. These are the same poor practices that have segregated neighborhoods and contributed to drastic disparities in health and wealth for a century.
As city leaders respond to concerns about COVID transmission and develop economic recovery plans, they must challenge the discriminatory status quo, consider transportation expenses, and shift toward equitable, compact (not overcrowded) housing development.
“Restoring urban transit networks to full force, expanding their service, and extending their reach across cities must be at the top of every nation’s economic-recovery strategy,” wrote former New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan in The Atlantic.