Readers might remember that only last year, and in the first few months of 2020, many of us were focussed on the world’s changing climate and its negative impact on the environment. And then, coronavirus swept across the globe and wholly took our attention. However, countries are awakening from the COVID coma and we are being urged to slowly, carefully, return to our lives. But you may notice, we are not being advised to return to our old ways. Take the United Kingdom for example, where in late May, local councils were directed by the government to increase spaces to allow for social distancing measures as people return to work and school.
The repurposing of assets in the UK includes making space available outside regional cities for parking, reclaiming current road space and altering it for use by cyclists. The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said in a press conference held on 23rd May, ‘For those who live too far to cycle and walk…we will repurpose parking places just outside town centres1'.Mr Shapps continued, adding the aim in introducing such measures was not to merely get past restrictions, but to ‘permanently change the way we use transport2'.
Manchester City Council is seizing the opportunity created by COVID and is planning to permanently close roads and create diversions for bus routes. The council is planning this in collaboration with its framework on their five-year climate emergency plan3.
This strategy from the UK government appears to be a two-pronged approach to make the lives of constituents safer by holding at bay the likelihood of a fresh spike in COVID patients, while also attempting to reverse the effects of greenhouse gases caused by vehicles as a preferred mode of transport. It additionally demonstrates the crucial need to repurpose assets as community needs change, either electively or by directives from government.
For a reminder of a similar strategy considered in the City of Melbourne, click here.
Let us know any stories you may hear of assets being repurposed. We’d love your input! And make sure you are a member of the Asset Management Council to reap the many benefits, including free access to our fabulous webinar series and database of technical papers, plus reduced rates at our events and conferences. Click here for more information about our affordable rates.
2 Sourced: as above