Cities - What's It Like Where You Are?

What’s it like in our cities? I bet there’ve been a ton of localised changes and I’m really curious about how people’s experiences intersect.

Paris, France

Paris is starting to look like I Am Legend. Eerily quiet and virtually no one on the streets, even in the busy 3eme arrondisement. The loudest sound is strangely regimented: when people open their windows and clap for medical workers at 8pm. It feels almost like a Cuckoo clock with the birds popping out to announce the hour.

Grocery stores are about all that remain open and even for that you queue up outside and wait to be let in. Normally such a convivial place that’s packed-in everywhere you go, it makes me wonder about the future and the cultural tradeoffs between human proximity and hygiene.

@derek what’s it like in Denver?

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Denver, Colorado

Denver announced their ‘shelter-in-place’ order late last week, so the city seems to be adjusting to that. The streets are pretty empty throughout, from a cars perspective, but there is a pretty noticeable consistency to folks walking around. We get a lot of sun here, and people are generally outdoorsy, so I think culturally there’s a really strong need to get out of the house.

There’s also a strong effort to support local businesses - especially breweries, restaurants and bars - so you see a decent amount of people picking up food and drinks. Most restaurants and vendors are trying to do curbside pickup (they come. throw it. in your car, pay over the phone)… and it’s pretty damn convenient so I kind of expect it to become something that sticks around after all this subsides.

I’d say generally Coloradans, at least in the cities, are being pretty observant, which is reassuring. And our weather has been pretty good, so kids can be outside almost every day (bakyard, hikes) which is a nice pressure release for parents.

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@derek ‘kerbside pickup’ is already a common thing in (eg) Vietnam and i always wished it would head west! it’s my time baby!

Tokyo, Japan

weird mix over here. the federal and prefectural governments are playing chicken on who will announce a lockdown. another rumour is they’re waiting until april 1 (new financial year). and even if/when they do, the constitution doesn’t allow for enforcing a shelter-in-place order (though you could expect widespread compliance).

foot traffic is definitely down, wfh up (in a country decidedly not wfh-friendly), and japan will deal with the communal effort aspect better than a lot of countries, but the delay in strong response is getting a bit dicey.

also toilet paper has been out of stock for a month+ now.

further context (local and international):


@h.swenson interested how cdmx is looking now – seems like they’re starting to take it more seriously

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Mexico City, Mexico

We’re actively in the “slow the curve” and “stay at home” phase in Mexico City. Cases are rising exponentially. The situation was declared a national emergency this past Monday after confirmed cases exceeded 1,000, and local government called to shut down pretty much everything except food pick-up, groceries and pharmacies.

The biggest concern right now is that there are extremely limited health resources in Mexico. Also, more than 50% of the entire country works in the informal economy and those people have very limited options right now. In Mexico City alone there are over 2 million people that work as street vendors.

On a lighter note, I’m happy to report we have a badass lady mayor in charge here in Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo, who is also a renowned scientist. I found out today that she jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize (!) in 2007 as a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Badass.


Another thing to add! I’ve loved to see so many mutual aid efforts growing in response to the pandemic in so many parts of the world. The whole aim of mutual aid is to get resources to those in-need – neighbor-to-neighbor – with the idea being “solidarity, not charity”. In Mexico City we’ve started a mutual aid campaign too: :blush:

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Dang, a scientist as a mayor is a huge leg up. I was just in CDMX and the scale of that city is no joke. I can only imagine the challenges ahead if the virus gets a hold of the population.

Is the ‘stay at home’ an official mandate - like fines if you’re caught out in the streets? Noticing there is variance on this particular detail across cities… some essentially implement ‘law’ and some make ‘suggestions’.

very cool!

‘Stay at home’ is unofficial official mandate – no fines or penalties at this point. People were pretty concerned about rumors of a ‘dry law’ being enacted, which doesn’t really make sense, but Mayor seems to be trying to squash those rumors.


Although, to be fair, I’m just seeing that the Governor of Nuevo León ordered a halt to production and distribution of beer in the state, beginning today. Also, beaches throughout the country closed on Wednesday which is pretty crazy to imagine.

Such a weird move. Denver Mayor announced liquor stores & pot shops were not included as essential businesses, and would need to shut down 24 hours after his press conference. Before the press conference was over, there were lines around the block at every liquor store & pot shop in Denver. An hour later he reversed course and included them in the list of essential businesses.


Paris just banned exercise during the day so it’s either drag one’s butt out of bed early or go for a moonlit run…which actually sounds kinda sweet

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seriously? night exercise is officially legit?

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Useful consideration from Italy:

How has lockdown been looking in your cities this week @derek @matt.h @Luke @jimmhay?

It’s one of those too-good-to-be-true-25-degrees-celsius-every-day kind of weeks. Almost criminal to not be drinking wine with friends by the river.

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Sounds dreamy to me.

Full lockdown in the UAE now. Around 2,000 cases. Need a permit to leave the apartment - I can stand on my balcony and see the police driving around the area on golf carts, stopping people. Dubai Police also announced they’ll be sending photos of people who break the rules to the media.

Luckily Dubai is kind of built on the concept of staying indoors during summer, so it’s very easy to get things delivered. There’s talk of the lockdown continuing until at least June.

Most noticeable issue so far is the economic impact - we know a lot of people who’ve already been put on unpaid leave and don’t have any welfare benefit.

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Dammmnnnnnn. That’s some ice cold action right there.

@matt.h what’s the penalty for not staying inside?

japan finally announced a state of emergency which involves everything being more or less the same, except closing at 8pm.

and that’s all i have to say about that.

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