The COVID-19 pandemic has done immense harm to the world’s bustling cities, damaging their economies, closing their shops, frightening off tourists and forcing inhabitants to hide indoors. But as light begins to shimmer at the tunnel’s end, urban planners are busy dreaming up a greener, healthier future that will allow city centres to be reclaimed by the people who live in them. Trees are being planted, cars banished and sustainable systems introduced to make life less hectic and more enjoyable for everyone. Helen Fitzwilliam looks at five cities – Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Xiong’An and Freetown – to see what ambitious steps are being envisaged to make the post-COVID world a better place
Amsterdam: Dutch choose the doughnut option
Red lights go out as locals reclaim their city centre.