A first reflection on the correlation between urban density and the spread of COVID-19 in Italy

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Anna Richiedei
Maurizio Tira


Over 75% of the European population live in cities and towns where, therefore, the challenge of sustainability is at stake. As it is well known, sustainability has many facets, according to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): one of those is the health and well-being of the population. The social and environmental costs of different patterns of urban growth have been addressed in an extensive literature. Nevertheless, the COVID-19 pandemic has undermined many established beliefs and raised new questions.
It is not yet clear whether there is a link between the spread of the virus and consequences on health and environmental conditions. So, it may be of interest to compare the different patterns of viral contamination among Italian regions and provinces, by using some indicators of population density in urban areas. Some indicators, among the many available in the literature, to assess fragmentation and compactness of settlement and population density are selected, collected and represented. In 2020 the analysis shows potentially clusters of settlement suffering over-spread of the virus in the Italian provinces.
The traditional provision of public services and spaces will have to be redefined by planners to protect and serve the population, if a potential link between the density of urban areas and the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic will be identified. That is the goal of the paper.


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RichiedeiA., & TiraM. (2021). A first reflection on the correlation between urban density and the spread of COVID-19 in Italy. UPLanD - Journal of Urban Planning, Landscape & Environmental Design, 5(2), 77-86. https://doi.org/10.6093/2531-9906/7758


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