Snapshot taken of Houston just before pandemic shows the inequalities COVID-19 would exploit

What’s the biggest problem facing people in the Houston area today?

If asked that question in the past month and a half, it seems like easy money to bet every response would involve the economy or health.

But back in late January and early March of this year, when interviews for the 2020 Kinder Houston Area Survey were conducted, congestion on the city’s streets and freeways was the most-common concern. (It was the top response in the previous three years as well.)

Dear cities: Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to remake and retake streets

As businesses begin to reopen and more and more people leave their homes more often, we’ll have to continue to be vigilant about good hygiene and physical distance. Guidelines for grocery stores can include signage and announcements reminding shoppers to avoid touching their faces and leaving space between themselves and others as well as sneeze-guards at the checkouts.

Here’s what our cities will look like after the coronavirus pandemic

Part two looks at changes such as an increase in remote work arrangements, which will lead to more activity in neighborhoods, more flexibility in public transit options and a renewed appreciation for taking a walk. Read part two here.

A few weeks ago — before all of our everyday assumptions about travel and social interaction were blown to bits — I attended the UN-Habitat World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi.