Vania Djunaidi is a postgraduate student of Urban Planning and Design at Monash University, Melbourne. As urban challenges such as climate change, housing affordability and now pandemics are urgent issues, she is interested in exploring how these challenges unequally impact vulnerable groups within our built environment through photographic digital collages She hopes that the future of urban planning and design will allow for more community participation to create resilient communities and cities.
The world seems to be upside down at the moment. Lockdowns of cities globally, no hugging and mandatory masks everywhere are few of the consequences of the yet to be found cure to the corona virus. But how does this experience affect those who are already in the vulnerable positions before the pandemic? The virus highlighted a dark lens on pre-existing cracks of society and system of control within our cities. True heroes reveals the existing inequity that is exacerbated during COVID19. Groups including Australia’s Fist Nation peoples and public housing tenants have experienced existing inequality socially and economically, being looked down upon easily removed and displaced within society. The Black Lives Movement echoed in Australia during the pandemic, reinforcing the historical impact of colonialism and continuous dispossession towards Aboriginal Australians which put them in vulnerable position in the pandemic. The public housing tenants across Flemington in Melbourne were the first group of people to face a strict hard-lockdown, with police hovering around their place of shelter and home. Our true heroes are those who have to navigate their pre-existing struggles and fight for justice during the uncertainty of the future. It’s time to rethink of our society, and to question, do we really want to go back to ‘normal’?