Beijing’s Xinfadi food market is typically sprawling and bustling as it supplies about 70% of the city’s vegetables and 10% of its pork. After new cases were found in June, the city went on another lockdown. With cases being linked to the many people who visit the market, it was shut down.

Stable housing is instrumental to well-being and this is where affordable housing comes in. As Deidre Schmidt, President and Chief Executive Officer of CommonBond Communities in St. Paul notes, “Those who had access to stable housing as children have better outcomes in life…Those who have access to stable housing as adults can focus on improving their job and financial situation….A stable home is a public health measure now.” As affordability has long been tied to reducing space, more innovative ideas for how to create housing that can be turned into a home are needed–from financing to design.


Twin Cities, Minnesota

Photo credit:

Architects rethinking the future of residential design point to storage of food and cleaning supplies being a valued characteristic along with multi-functional/adaptable rooms that can go from living spaces to working spaces for children and adults, smaller units that are affordable, furniture with antimicrobial and easy-to-clean fabrics and materials, and touchless sensor-operated appliances to limit germ spread.


United States

Photo credit: Tasoulla Hadjiyanni

As restaurants are called to abide by social distancing rules and use outdoor spaces, The Tenant, a Minneapolis restaurant, took over the sidewalk, offering takeout barbeque. Shifting their business model and offerings has been instrumental to many restaurants’ survival, including one of the world’s best restaurants, NOMA in Copenhagen, which returned as an outdoor wine bar with two options for burgers.



Photo credit: Tasoulla Hadjiyanni

Staples in many restaurants, hotels, and other establishments and valued for the freedom they provide are self-serve salad bars and all-you-can-eat buffets. Because such an arrangement relies on customers sharing utensils and dispensers to get access to the food, these types of operations face an uncertain future in the age of coronavirus. “Sneeze guards” are now more extensively used and utensils must be disposable or switched often. 

As companies reopen, a Gallup survey found that about 60% of Americans would prefer to continue working remotely as much as possible and some companies plan to do the same. In addition to rethinking the open office plan, businesses can explore flexibility such as collaborating virtually instead of physically and ways to foster relationships. Pri Shah, a professor at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management notes, this experience “might empower people to actually create environments that could be better suited for their lifestyle and personality.”

Art is an instrumental medium for making sense of the world and Yayoi Kusama, a world-renowned artist felt the need to address COVID-19 with a poem through the Victoria Miro gallery website. She calls on us to reflect on the lessons as we plan the future through words that include:

“For those left behind, each person’s story and that of their loved ones
It is time to seek a hymn of love for our souls
In the midst of this historic menace, a brief burst of light points to the future
Let us joyfully sing this song of a splendid future
Let’s go”