How can we design a dynamic protocol to improve our cities’ response to emergencies? The Reactive Pandemic Protocol developed by Jochen Morandell, Alejandro Quinto-Ferrandez, and Rovianne Santiago in the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia creates networks of adaptable building typologies that increase the capacity of cities to meet the demand for medical infrastructure during emergencies.
Reactive Pandemic Protocol (RPP) Technical Information
- Researchers: Alejandro Quinto Ferrandez, Jochen Morandell, Rovianne Santiago
- University: Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia | Master in City & Technology
- Faculty Members: Areti Markopoulou, Alex Mademochoritis, Iacopo Neri
- Location: Barcelona, Spain
- Topics: COVID-19, Student Project
- Project Year: 2020
- Images: © Alejandro Quinto Ferrandez, Jochen Morandell, Rovianne Santiago
The Responsive Pandemic Protocol (RPP) establishes a new paradigm of building adaptation towards emergency response and exceptional urban phenomena. It is an instrument for cities to decrease the response time during unexpected and disruptive events.
– The RPP team
Reactive Pandemic Protocol Video
Text by the Researchers
Cities today are persistently finding ways to combat unexpected phenomena. Multiple security systems and preventive measures against crime, accidents, and disease are continuously being improved to maintain the order we’ve been accustomed to. However, unexpected disruptions, by their very nature, can catch us unaware and unprepared. In fact, very few have anticipated that in 2020, a global pandemic will drastically change our way of life.
The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has placed immense pressure on our healthcare system. It forced organizations to dramatically change the way they operate and coordinate and find new ways to function. Without exception, all cities would need to actively respond against it for the world to be virtually free of it. This issue’s urgency and universality urged us to devise a system that can help us to be more prepared during a state of emergency.
The first consideration taken into account was the environment’s already deteriorating state even before the pandemic. That is why the protocol uses existing statistical data that includes demographics, socio-economic information, and density to create a Vulnerability Index that will designate the areas that might face a major risk. The built environment can no longer keep pace with the rapid technological evolution of our cities.
It is no longer sustainable nor feasible to adapt our infrastructures and buildings to our societies’ accelerated development. For this reason, we propose using digitalization. This way we can enhance what’s already existing.
The Responsive Pandemic Protocol (RPP) establishes a new paradigm of building adaptation towards emergency response and exceptional urban phenomena. It is an instrument for cities to decrease the response time during unexpected and disruptive events. With this protocol, participating non-essential buildings are classified according to their use, assessed, and reprogrammed to be transformed to fit the desired use. This is to extend the capacities of the more necessary infrastructures.
This process considers the urgency of these buildings’ typologies, giving preference to the more urgent need, such as field hospitals first. A secondary search will include services to support that Field Hospital such as hotels, parking lots, public spaces, etc.. depending on the specific requirements of the given circumstances. Together, the reprogrammed buildings form a collaborative network that will also necessitate the rerouting of the surrounding street connections. The whole system is smart, rapid, and sustainable for a more resilient and adaptable urban environment. From the built environment to resources and personnel, the proposals aim to be a dynamic and live virtual platform that can inform decision-makers and optimize opportunities in the immediate surroundings.
The protocol begins with the multiscalar data collection of participating buildings. The accumulated data is then fed to a specialized program that is activated during exceptional circumstances. There have been many cases worldwide, wherein buildings were transformed to form a collaborative network that will support the current local healthcare system. In the case of RPP, from the first second that a carrier (COVID-19 positive) is detected, a whole network of agents will distribute information and deploy an emergency program that would reprogramme buildings’ use. The protocol’s priority is to support areas where the healthcare system has known to be collapsed, or it is closer to do so. Its second concern is keeping the economy alive by understanding which businesses and typologies are underutilized and reprogramming them into in-demand facilities.
An essential part of this program is that it computes multiple iterations of possible adaptable buildings and rerouted street networks. These iterations will each have an impact assessment that is intended to be delivered to decision-makers in advance. This will inform the city leaders of the possible measures to take and which is the most appropriate and feasible.
The protocol’s greatest advantage lies in its adaptability to other emergencies such as urban flooding, climate change, natural catastrophe, immigration, and migration.
Spain has been (and it is) one of the most impacted countries in Europe and the world; in fact, according to IMF (International Monetary Funds), Spain will be the hardest hit developed country hit by the current covid-19 crisis. We chose Barcelona, one of the most developed cities in the country, as a case study for a response system that pretends to be adaptable anywhere.