As new restrictions are imposed across Europe, it's hard to see beyond the end of a dreadful year. But let's remember the four squares of classic management school analysis, see opportunity rather than threat, and look ahead to what cities can be like in future.
In particular, one thing I hope I'll retain from 2020 is a lasting appreciation of the key workers on which all cities rely. Densely populated London offers speedy delivery of internet orders, convenience stores which are actually convenient and a public transport network which is the envy of the rest of the UK. All these amazing features depend on key workers, generally poorly paid. If white collar workers migrate en masse to the other side of the M25 and beyond, perhaps falling accommodation costs will help our key workers stay? I suspect that's not enough. What we need is good quality affordable housing, and lots of it.
The government are changing planning laws to make it easier to convert shops and offices into dwellings. That should be backed up with minimum space and other standards, to make sure we create homes rather than slums.
A great city is vibrant, and needs to support all kinds of variety to keep its vibrancy - compare and contrast London and Singapore. When we build back, let's make it better for everyone.
Long before the pandemic struck, many poorer urbanites were just hanging on, not living even a downscale version of the Dick Whittington dream of coming to the city and making their fortunes