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Journal 02: Social Distancing or Physical Distancing?

Journal 02: Social Distancing or Physical Distancing?

3 April 2020 Written by By Subuola Akinkugbe Digital Marketing Executive

“When we deny the story, it defines us. When we own the story, we can write a brave new ending.” Brene Brown.

In a year’s time, will we remember what it felt like to live, work and play during the Coronavirus outbreak? Probably not. If it’s not written down; it didn’t happen.

Here’s what the team at Design Council learnt this week.

‘Social distancing’ is the wrong term. It implies we should be less social. Yes, we should put physical distance between us but we need to remain as social as ever (indeed more social than ever) finding new ways of being social: a wave from the window, a call or an email.

So, can we talk about ‘physical distancing’, not ‘social distancing’? - Tim Stoner, Deputer Chair, shares his thoughts on "Social Distancing"

Lorraine Taylor, Operations Manager on nature

One of the unexpected joys from this new way we’re experiencing the world is watching the sun go down over Croydon during an evening walk. Beautiful and peaceful, then slightly odd as you watch people quietly disperse. The new norm? I don’t mind if it is.

Elli Thomas, Lead Programme Manager on uncertainty

Our digital world brings us both opportunities and discomforts. One of my least favourites come from social media, and how any major news story brings with it the expectation and pressure for us to respond. What’s your hot take? What are you going to post on Twitter? What can you say that no-one else has already said? So indeed when COVID-19 struck, the same has become true — amplified, perhaps with the distractions of the external world now removed, we look to the news and social media for evidence that the world is still turning and to show everyone else how we’re responding to the global pandemic and the physical distancing rules that come with it. Apparently, Twitter has experienced a 79% increase in usage recently. What do YOU think about COVID-19?

I’m aware of the irony of sharing my thoughts publicly through Medium, but my experience so far is that I have no idea. Last week for me was a whirlwind of exhausted self-isolation as I fought off what was most likely (although I wasn’t tested) my own bout of COVID-19 (check out global recovery rates). People — understandably — are keen to hear my thoughts on what that was like. Honestly? Tiring and confusing. And now I am happily recovered and back to full strength, I am enjoying being able to carry on with my work and support the built environment industry to carry on developing new projects. For me, that brings some stability to this strange new world. But when it comes to being able to comprehend the world around me, while it changes monumentally by the moment and while we have no idea what the coming weeks will bring, I find myself stuck. Particularly when asked questions about what I think COVID-19 is telling us about our society, our built environment and our world. At the moment I have nothing to say. I know that what we’re going through will bring about changes, perhaps some which will be lasting — but right now, I don’t have much to say about it.

But also — I think that’s OK and I think we should be OK with that. We are living through unprecedented times, and we have no idea what the coming weeks will bring. We need time to observe what we’re seeing, to consider it and reflect. I don’t have a hot take today but ask me again for a lukewarm one in a few weeks’ time.

The views and opinions expressed in this journal are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of Design Council.

This entry was originally published on our journal on Medium

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