Ian Morley


A multitude of determinants influence the urban planning process. Yet, in the contemporary context of an ongoing pandemic causing infirmity and death in more than 1,500 cities, how can examples of urban planning from history, namely ones that sought to boost public health, (re)shape the current urban planning paradigm? Is there a need in the light of the global impact of Covid-19 to re-evaluate the value of past planning models and so, in accordance, rethink present-day urban density management and public space creation? In consequence, this paper puts forward an overview of how city planning and public health have historically interlinked, albeit with reference to 19th century Britain and the establishment of public parks. Used communally by assorted social groups such green spaces were considered to be crucial for physical and mental health. Crucially too, these open areas are still a fundamental element of the 21st century British cityscape and, arguably, as part of the present and future social recovery from Covid-19, will play a vital role in public life and well-being.


How to Cite
Morley, I. (2020) “Recovering the Urban Past for Equitable Present and Future Social Recovery”, The Journal of Public Space, 5(3), pp. 147–158. doi: 10.32891/jps.v5i3.1283.
Author Biography

Ian Morley, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Department of History

Ian Morley is an Associate Professor in the Department of History, and Associate Professor (by Courtesy) on CUHK’s Urban Studies Programme. He has published widely oun the design of built environments, participated in TV documentaries for The Discovery Channel and Voom!, as well as been interviewed by The Wall Street Journal Asia, The Los Angeles Times, Southeast Asia Globe, La Stampa and the US’ National Public Radio. In addition, he has contributed to media outlets such as Hong Kong News, South China Morning Post, Al Jazeera, The Diplomat, and Agence France Presse. In 2020 his book American Colonisation and the City Beautiful was awarded the IPHS-Bosma Prize in Planning History Innovation. He currently is an editorial board member of the Brill book series Studies in Architecture and Urban History, an editorial board member of Planning Perspectives as well as a council member of the International Planning History Society (IPHS). He has been a Visiting Fellow at the University of Sydney (Australia), University College Dublin (Ireland), the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazil), and Free University Berlin (Germany). In 2020 he was awarded a Senior Fellowship by Advance HE.


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