Brail: Seek innovative solutions for retail sidewalks

Shauna Brail head shot

Shauna Brail

UTTRI associated faculty Professor Shauna Brail was featured in the Globe and Mail article “Wide sidewalks key to help commercial real estate weather the pandemic,” September 8, 2020.

The article discusses the commercial success of Toronto streets, such as McCaul, that enjoy wider sidewalks.

Safe outdoor spaces, including sidewalks, with enough space for social distancing have become more important during COVID-19.

Toronto’s CaféTO program, which provides more outdoor dining areas for some restaurants and bars to create physical distancing for patrons on patios, has helped during the warmer summer months.

As cooler weather sets in, ways to weatherproof outdoor space are needed.

Experts agree that the pandemic is forcing a fresh look at urban design.

“We do need to think creatively and be willing to experiment,” says Shauna Brail, associate professor at the Institute for Management and Innovation at the University of Toronto. “This is the push we didn’t know we needed.”

Prof. Brail points to work done by Toronto-based architecture firm Partisans for Google sister company Sidewalk Labs on “building raincoats,” unveiled last year, as an example of the innovation that cities will need more of, in part to keep commercial real estate alive.

Read the full article “Wide sidewalks key to help commercial real estate weather the pandemic,” Globe and Mail, September 8, 2020 (external link)


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