Covid-19 and Public Space. Migration Patterns and Public Space Norms

Academic Paper, 2021

17 Pages





Research Objectives


Discussion & Findings




Masses are migrating through spatial spheres for various purposes during their lifetime. The situation caused by Covid-19 pandemic distinctly identifies multiple variations in migration and changes of public space. Explicitly, throughout this pandemic, Colombo district residents migrated back: to their rural villages, iso, shifting population dynamics and spatial variations changed parallel with the pandemic. This study aims to scrutinize both demographic and political analysis of the? changes regarding the? pandemic. Especially, with reference to the fact, people who desired to migrate from the periphery (rural) to cores (urban), return back to the? periphery with this pandemic circumstances. Also, examine the changes and modus operandi on public space. A mixed methodology, both qualitative (online questionnaire and in-depth interviews) and quantitative data sources were used while the data processed utilizing SPSS and Microsoft Office excel. The research findings explain the urban residences with sufficient social and economic stability, nevertheless, failed to satisfy their needs with the contemporary epidemic. This unsafe and vulnerable space? led urban dweller's to migrate to the village; ergo, conflicts aggravated between migrants and villagers, also authorities dictated them to quarantine and took legal actions. This Phenomenon, convinced failure of public space to satisfy people's necessities, became a void sphere for people. Consequently, the virus spread to bucolic settlers, and became? uncontrollable by authorities. Then bucolics too suffered from lockdowns causing; interruptions for day-to-day life and economy. These problems are not affecting notable migrants who get monthly wages. During the pandemic, in spite of economic stability, clear changes in migration can be observed due to over resource consumption. Thus, this should consider for the formulation and implementation of future programs as well as policies.


Migration is a continuum global phenomenon which is utilized for economic development, social, political, environmental, health and transportation purposes. The UN estimates that only 2% of the world’s population are migrants (Castle & Miller,2008). There are two clarifications of migration: internal migration and international migration. Internal migration means the movement of people from one? place? to another place in a given country and international migration is the movement of people from one country to another in order to take up employment, establish residence or to enhance living standards. During the period of covid-19 pandemic, migration patterns have changed and also half of the world’s population has been asked to stay at home or restrict movement in public (Sandfors,2020). Most people? art? complying with public health guidelines as evident in the striking images of empty city streets, parks, beaches, plazas and promenades. In this occurrence urban people had chosen the new option to migrate back to their rural villages for the safety of their life, because they had understood these public spheres are unsafe and a massive spread of virus in day-to-day life.

So, this research discussed changes in internal migration patterns with global pandemic and new changes in public space?. The world is witnessing huge economic and social losses from the covid-19 pandemic. (Asian Development Bank,2020) and the global situation which has affected migrants in various ways. Other than that, the basic understandable situation here is high economic families and people moved to the work from home concept in that pandemic and it made easy for them to migrate to their rural villages away from busy urban lifestyles. Geospatial data shows that low-income workers continued to move around in the midst of the pandemic, while higher income workers were more likely to work from home (Valentino-DeVries & Dance, 2020). It’s crystal-clear that skilled workers in the knowledge economy can more easily shift to online and distance working, thereby minimizing exposure.

Lower incomes workers may not have the choice. So, this research is investigating what are changes that caused internal migration from Colombo district to Matara district during pandemic period, what are the factors behind that situation and new modus operandi in public space in Colombo district (Streets, shopping malls, parks, apartments etc.). Also, what is the linkage in public space and migration patterns during the pandemic period and finally it will provide what Eire the actions taken to control this situation.

Research Objectives

This research context aims to examine both demographic and political analysis of the changing; migration patterns that happened, when the same people who desired to migrate from the periphery(rural) to the? core(urban) returned back: to the periphery with the pandemic circumstances. Also, what are the changes and challenges faced by public spheres? This work examines the research questions of how did the internal migrants survive with the epidemic and the; impact of it on their daily lives with changes in the public space? And What Eire the factors influencing the migrants to migrate back from the core to the periphery and its nature? How to survive in rural villages and novel changes of public space during the pandemic.

Research Methods & Methodology

A mixed methodology was utilized to collect data. The online questionnaire method and in-depth interviews (telephone interviews), social network evidence regulated for primary data gathering. The questionnaire was sent via mobile phones to responders in both Sinhala and English language. The sampling found was a snowball samplt? method and data collected through 84 burghers and 46 rustics. This data processed using SPSS and Microsoft office excel. The secondary delta was collected from academic articles, books and published and unpublished research.

From this; instance;, it clearly identifies migrant had an impact with the pandemic situation and that unsafe moment in public space creates a dangerous and unsuitable place to keep physical contact with people. Public space might still be a place for social interaction. Nevertheless, some migrants couldn’t satisfy and fulfill their- needs with this unexpected global pandemic. For instance, in the online questionnaire one responder mentioned his unexpected situation.

“I'm a manager at a private insurance company. I’m from Matara and currently I live in Nugegoda. During the covid-19 pandemic we (my family) had faced difficulties in fulfilling basic needs 'without shopping malls, supermarkets etc. We are not satisfied with online shopping methods because they are very slow and poor in customer service. So, during the lockdownperiod, immediately we moved to ourfirst 'village.”

This issue builds up two arguments. The first one is, time; to time; people’s? choice base on their benefits and the situation. The other one is the theirs’ migration affected by pull factors such as environmental, health and transportation changes. This research identifies these two arguments? directly affect and connected with the public space. Internal migrants identified from this? research sample moved from core to periphery for various reasons according to google questionnaire and these factors clarified from the below figure two

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Source Sample Survey, 2021

Figure 02: Migration Factors caused for the Internal Migration

Conforming to figure 02, 38% have faced disease phobia of Covid-19. Yet all of them had adequate economic capacity which is clearly observable that health issues impacted migration more than due; to losing their plushy lifestyle. Minimum interviewees' reason for migration was; economic issues and transportation problems meanwhile 25 percent respondents' opinion was that they have been affected by fulfilling basic human survival needs. So summarized these main factors as shown in figure 02 collaborating with the above-mentioned arguments.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Source:- Sample Survey, 2021

Figure 03: Rural villagers’ Responds regarding Internal Migration

According to this graph, the most number of people migrated to rural areas (periphery), when their close contacts were identified as Covid-19 patients and due to disease phobia of Covid-19. Majority of the responders from villages were thinking in this viewpoint.

“I’m afarmer and my neighbors have lived in Colombo for more than five years. Het in the first wave of the pandemic, their living conditions were not safe and convenient, so they quickly returned back to their home.

After spending; few days in the village, two family members were detected with covid-19 symptoms. For some days they were camouflaged by health authorities and neighbors but identified as covid-19patients withpositive PCR test -results.”

In this occurrence people? faced diverse difficulties before moving to their rural villages. Particularly, they couldn't satisfy their basic needs with the abnormal demand supply gap for a huge population in a limited area. In addition, some environmental factors affected their lifestyle due to dysfunctioning of essential city services like cleanings, health services, and consequently the;/ held to face difficult situations. Most respondents' children in this research were also confronted with dengue virus and several other diseases. In that hard situation, their lifestyle? was totally upside down and mentally fallen, while? restricting; to a small landscape?. Involuntarily or not, the? most appropriate option chosen by urban people according to them was to migrate back to the bucolic villages and l.he migration tends most migrants to incorporate with their relatives. Nevertheless, the foremost fact was, these migrations have probably violated lockdown restrictions and health guidelines imposed GOSL during lockdown.

Surveillance systems, tracking technology, and restrictions in movement were essential strategies that have allowed governments to slow down the outbreak (WHO,2020). These strategies have been implemented via control measures such as physical barriers, police? checkpoints, permit systems and CCTVs. However, in the Sri Lankan system most migrants didn't have a permit or any other valid reason for their migration. Some respondents' ideas about their migration expressed as “all people are moving here and there at every time, so what is wrong with our moving or why it is unjustifiable with this pandemic situation?” The research findings clearly identify that migration happened on various methods with proper permission or not permission.


Excerpt out of 17 pages


Covid-19 and Public Space. Migration Patterns and Public Space Norms
Political Science and Public Policy
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
public space, political Science, policy planning, public administration, demography, migration pattern, geo politics, social issues, covid 19, pandemic, 2021
Quote paper
Sachini Geethanjalee (Author), 2021, Covid-19 and Public Space. Migration Patterns and Public Space Norms, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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