hat’s the problem?
This is how NZ responded to the pandemic. It closed the economy.
It had to do this because it has a transport-based economy.
We all know the effects; they don’t have to be repeated here. But what is extraordinary is how in Level 1, the country seems not to have learned the most obvious lesson. In order to ensure health and safety, the government had to deprive people of social, economic and cultural wellbeing.
So why is to charging ahead with plans to build thousands of new transport-based homes? Why is it funding transport projects to kickstart the economy? It’s like the smoker going back to cigarettes after chemo.
Locking people in their homes for months at a time is not socially sustainable. Paying out billions to keep people from being laid off is not economically sustainable. The first time, the public accepts it, the same as they accept the change and deprivation during wartime. But a government that allows it to happen a second time will find much lower acceptance. Someone in power is not doing their job.
How a Market Town solves it
This is how a Market Town in medieval Europe responded to the Black Death, a pandemic that killed 30-50% of its population. It closed the town gates. It hired mercenaries and did not let anyone pass in or out. Food supplies were contactless. Wagons of food were brought in, left and then collected by the town folk.
Within the town gates, life continued as normal. People bought and sold, the economy kept working. People socialised, enjoyed each other’s company and lived normal lives.
In modern society, town walls and gates are not built to protect from marauding hordes, because civilisations presume they are secure. In the Market Town the walls are to protect the greenbelt from invasive species, to keep children safe and enable those suffering dementia to wander without becoming lost.
However post-2020 lesson learned show how the Market Town layout can enable a whole town to become a bubble, and within it, if necessary, each of the 20 side-by-side villages can become sub-bubbles to coin a word. In the event of a Level 2, 3 or 4 lockdown, the town closes its gates to all visitors, and provides 14-day quarantine in the greenbelt to all returning residents. Delivery trucks continue as normal – driving to the freight depot where the driver stays in the cab while the goods are unloaded – contactless.
This means that, with the exception of the visitor industry, the town’s local economy operates normally. Cafes, shops, schools all remain open and people go to work, same as always.
In the event a virus slips through, the 20 side-by-side villages are designed to be sealed as sub-bubbles. If someone becomes ill, they can be quarantined in specially-made mobile homes in the greenbelt and the village sealed for 14 days.