The scale of disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented, even for an era which has already been described as the age of uncertainty. It has affected the health of millions of people and forced billions to radically alter their movements and behaviours. At the same time, the struggle to manage the pandemic is taking place alongside the urgent need to respond to the additional global crises of climate change and social injustice.

In this context, what is the future of the city? If a city is first and foremost a place where people gather together to cooperate and create, can it function if there is a long-term need to maintain physical separation from each other as we live, work and travel to conduct our daily lives? If our societies can’t be urban, then what will they be?

As new shocks, restrictions and uncertainties sank in, the Pandemonium lecture series provided opportunities for dialogue and critical reflection on our urban alternatives during this time of change amid crisis.

Click here to read a summary of the major themes and takeaways from the Pandemonium series, or explore individual event recordings and recaps below.

Past events

Wednesday, March 24 | 5:00pm

How has the pandemic changed our city streets and the lives we lead in them? How do we keep the public in public spaces?

Wednesday, February 24 | 5:00pm

COVID-19 has given new relevance to the theme of resilience in city planning. What can we learn from emergency planning efforts in other cities, and for other risks and disasters?

Wednesday, January 27 | 5:00pm

Normal was not good enough before the pandemic — especially when talking about housing affordability, access and sustainability. How can we rethink housing as we revise local and regional plans like Metro 2050 in light of the pandemic?

Wednesday, November 25 | 5:00pm

The pandemic wrought economic devastation unseen since at least the Great Depression and government intervention in the economy on a scale comparable only to the two great World Wars.

Wednesday, October 21 | 5:00pm

When Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry implored British Columbians to “be kind” at the onset of the pandemic, the message seemed disconnected from the urgent matter of our health.

Wednesday, September 30 | 12:00pm

How is the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the basic tenets of city planning and the direction of longer-term planning processes currently underway?


Pandemonium is a collaboration between SFU Urban Studies and SFU Public Square, with financial support from the Initiative in Sustainable Urban Development.