Urban structure and population mobility: Implications for social distance and dissemination of covid-19

Leiva G.C.,
Sathler D.,
Filho R.D.O.
Document Type
Source Title
Revista Brasileira de Estudos de Populacao
Associacao Brasileira de Estudos Populacionais


The world has witnessed the rapid spread of confirmed cases of acute respiratory syndrome through coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2 COVID-19). In the first months of the pandemic, statistics indicate that large cities have become prominent places of contagion and dissemination of COVID-19. In view of this, the present study offers arguments that assist in the construction and preliminary assessment of three hypotheses: 1) the urban structure and the organization of cities interfere in social distancing rates and, therefore, in the rate of contagion of the disease; 2) in cities, the way in which transport system is structured plays an important role in the pace of dissemination of COVID-19; 3) the pandemic and practices of physical and social distancing alter patterns of intra-urban mobility. National and regional data available from official agencies and other empirical studies on COVID-19 are analyzed in the light of theoretical studies on urban mobility. Then, using the inductive method, an association of these data is made with the different city models (compact vs. sprawled), considering, in particular, aspects of urban mobility. The arguments developed in this study seem to corroborate the central issues of the hypotheses presented in this work. It is necessary to develop models that incorporate these elements to advance in understanding the pandemic and elements that help in the construction of cities more resilient to phenomena such as COVID-19. © 2020, Associacao Brasileira de Estudos Populacionais. All rights reserved.

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