Articles by Fahad Hassen

Distilling the Old to Rethinking Anew

Prior to what can be described as the great upset of the century, brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic that exposed key areas of unpreparedness, cities were inflexibly ingrained in customs of social interactions and proclivity, epitomized by norms of unconstrained use of human and natural energy, and space. Most importantly too, cities were increasingly becoming quite hard to manage as they continually make room for more people than they can sustainably cope with, fetching ills in pollution, overcrowding, traffic congestion and crime. Thus, to ponder on the workings of a typical boisterous city, is to rekindle flashbacks of wanton…


When Cities, Christmas and Coronavirus Collide

This piece was inspired by the sudden changes imposed on all facets of our lives, public spaces and cities in 2020, due to Covid-19. And it speaks to how it redefined the priorities of our holiday seasons, and upended Christmas. “…we cannot continue with Christmas as planned” were the spoken words of the British Prime Minister -Boris Johnson on Saturday morning, barely a week to Christmas. And instantly, for most, Christmas plans came to a screeching halt, and their hopes, of end-of year festivities that typically lead into the brand-new year were crushed. Before I proceed, I would like to commiserate…


Leadership and Resilience Thinking: Connecting the dots

COVID remains a ravaging force across the world. The spate of deaths and forced isolation persists despite all odds. Barely halfway into January the death count alone presents a significant foreboding of what 2021 may portend. And it is really unnerving that we are getting used to people dying daily at such record numbers. We need the scientists driving key decisions on science and medicine, and planners and strategists working alongside them. I had some interesting conversations last week on ‘hard’ versus ‘soft’ disciplines. It is thought provoking how funders of research often seek the former with vigour, ignoring other…


Rethinking Responsiveness: Change for the Future

Cities have always absolved many of the instances and effects of change. And resilience in its traditional sense is a lesson that may be learned from them. However, what typically happens following a disaster for which resilience is tested is that in response we risk developing a misaligned focus and a dissipated awareness of the situation. For example, after the terrorist attack on New York City and the London Underground, these two cities went into a lockdown as the devastation crippled key infrastructure connected to mass travel. The focus was that the biggest disaster from disruption, chaos and death most…


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