LONDON – As covid-19 changes the world around us, it also changes our sense of place.
The coronavirus forced us to create a new world where we have to redefine our personal attachments to a specific area.
Due to the outbreak of covid-19, there has been a widely circulating debate on the changes in our perceptions of space.
There is the fascinating argument that the way people see different places will change as a result of the outbreak, forced isolation and fear of the proximity to strangers.
Geographer Yi-Fu Tuan defined place as space with meaning. This means that personal perceptions change the way in which places were approached and defined.
Urban cities have been transformed. Areas once bustling with people are now deserted.
Places that were once associated with a wide range of people and vibrancy are now seen as a dangerous areas given that we are living in a global pandemic.
Buildings have been deserted, and businesses relocated or even forced to close.
For many, there is a fear associated with going into the city. This stems from having to take public transport or even coming into close range with unfamiliar people. More importantly and for the majority of people, it is the unknown that is the root of the anxiety.
Canary Wharf in London, for instance, used to be seen as a financial hub where hundreds of people ventured every day to work or just visit the scenic setting.
But now workers are fearful of returning to their offices and people are wary of just going to visit a place. Not only has the way we view places changed, but also the experiences we have within them – if any — have been affected.
Before covid-19, your bedroom was the place where you slept and got ready for the day. That was the meaning that people associated with it.
But now, it has been forced to also become your workspace. It once held a positive perception of a safe area where you could rest, but now it’s been transformed into a stressful environment.
So when the work day ends or young people slowly transition back to school, the question will be how we can redefine these places that have so drastically changed over the past months.
Aimee Shah is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International. She wrote this piece.
Erin Kim is a Senior Illustrator with Youth Journalism International. She made the drawing that appears at the top of the article.