Pandemic City Plan

  • Location(s): Chicago, IL
  • Project Includes: Conceptual

Having also created design entries for fast-casual and fine dining concepts, this pandemic city plan is the largest-scale project Aria Group tackled for NEWH Hospitality Design competition. Our scalable solution addresses the question on so many minds in the height of 2020’s COVID-19 crisis: how does a city prepare to support its leisure and hospitality sector during an ongoing pandemic? This model considers fluid and flexible modifications of a neighborhood streetscape, allowing its businesses to stay open and offer safe, stimulating, and walkable environments.

Vehicle roundabouts at either end of the boulevard eliminate traffic and enable pickups from restaurants and retailers. Modified storefronts include operable designs incorporating order windows and street markers for distanced queueing. Expanded seating offers varying levels of shade with solar-powered light and heat above, all within six-foot floor markings. Local grocery markets can utilize open space at food and pharmacy displays in an effort to reduce crowding and congestion inside shops, and movable, open-air kiosks operate along the center lane of the road. A canopy structure, including a sky-bridge and green-roof garden, increases efficiency and adds to the local supply chain.

Helping businesses survive and thrive in a pandemic or disaster situation requires flexibility and creativity. This plan is able to be scaled up during times of extreme crisis and contracted back to a sense of normalcy when needs change. We designed this concept to grow and change as situations fluctuate. Shared resources within the neighborhood create a smaller, closer-knit community with grocers delivering to restaurants and restaurants selling prepared foods in their shops. Hotels would provide unused rooms and showers to essential workers. This project encapsulates the importance of community, giving people space to interact with safety and peace of mind.