Innovation and Resilience: The Global Design’s Community Response to COVID-19


  • Mariana Amatullo (Cumulus) Cumulus Association President Vice Provost for Global Strategic Initiatives, The New School, NYC


Diseases are deeply social phenomena and COVID-19 is no exception. History teaches us that many of the major diseases of the past have catalyzed currents of change that have superseded the initial public health dimensions at their core. The 1348 bubonic plague, better known as the “Black Death”, brought about drastic and permanent changes in the social mores and economic structure of Europe. The Spanish Flu outbreak of 1918-19 resulted in one of the deadliest global pandemics of the past 100 years, leaving vast misery and economic contraction in its wake. Decades later, HIV/AIDS quickly became one of the most profoundly altering epidemics of the 20th century from a social and cultural standpoint. These examples are at once similar and different from our experiences with the global surge of COVID-19 in 2020. This pandemic has become an all consuming fact of life. In many ways it is an unprecedented crisis that has thrown us into a global state of trauma. The disruptions caused by COVID-19 have represented a challenge different in scope and scale from many other natural and man-made emergencies we have experienced before. As a result, it has been difficult to rely on a “playbook” to derive guidance about how to proceed and has forced us to operate “pre-factually” in face of uncertainty.






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