How to keep social distances in Geneva's busy streetsMark Spurgeon

This was originally published there. Also, check out this article by Noémie Pralat at TOPO :)

Right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, I set out to map the places where physical distancing is next to impossible.

As people were left with more time on their hand and were forced to queue outside to do their shopping, the need for more public space became clear.

This map highlights the streets that lack public space (or queuing spaces) compared to the estimated number of shoppers. It also proposes to pedestrianize certain streets for people to move around safely.

Geneva's most crowded streets during the corona pandemic

Queuing spaces

It is impossible to know the exact numbers of shoppers per shop, especially as these are exceptional times and not all shops are opened, but some shops are more successful than others.

Hence, I have estimated the number of customers based on observations, or rather the number of people queuing outside during rush hours (noting that they still exist despite the change).

ShopQueuing placesComment
Very Big Supermarket35Rare but creates crowds
Big Supermarket & 'Department Store'30The most frequent
Small Supermarket15Second most frequent
Convenience Stores 10Alternative to supermarket
 Bakeries, Restaurants, ... 4 Varies a lot...

Free space

Free space is the space that allows people to move and stand around safely. It excludes the space dedicated to cars. Even though fewer cars are around, pedestrians tend not to use that space.

The next step was to calculate the number of queuing places outside. A grid of points seperated by a 2m distance has been created to simulate the recommended distance. Though the configuration may allow for more people to queue on a given space, it represents a detailed enough representation of how many queuing spaces are available..