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Illustration by Kathleen Fu

If you live in a city – and more than 80 per cent of Canadians do – you’ve seen some strange things this year: Empty buses at rush hour; awkward sidewalk dances as pedestrians mentally measure a six-foot gap with each other; restaurant patios set up on busy thoroughfares.

And those small changes are just the start of the transformation we’ll likely see as the COVID-19 pandemic affects the way we think about Canada’s urban areas: what we value about them, what needs to change and how they can thrive in the decades ahead.

In the coming week, The Globe and Mail will consider how the pandemic is changing our cities. Included in our coverage: Doug Saunders explores how mayors and other city officials are now tackling chronic problems, such as housing and transportation shortfalls. Eric Reguly examines the “15-minute-city,” which sees municipal governments prioritizing walkability above all. And Diana Lind explains why now is the time to overcome our obsession with single-family homes.

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For our weekend package, illustrator Kathleen Fu pulled together many of our themes in a single image. In creating the piece, she called upon her background in architecture, along with her own experience during the pandemic. “The way I draw, there’s plenty of moving pieces,” she says. “In the same way that in cities, lots of small pieces come together to create the whole.”

Our coverage continues through the week, leading up to a virtual summit on Thursday we’re co-hosting along with Tortoise Media, an innovative U.K. start-up. You’ll read and hear more about the big challenges our cities face, and the big solutions they need. The way we live will never be the same.


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