The UN-Habitat’s Report on Cities and Pandemics: Towards a More Just, Green and Healthy Future presents an analysis of the situation of the COVID-19 in cities and urban areas after one year since the declaration of pandemic and outlines a range of bold measures that could deliver a lasting and sustainable recovery from the current crisis. From the early days of the pandemic, cities have been on the frontline of COVID-19. The spread of the virus globally through travel, trade and mobility meant that a large number of the first detected infections appeared in urban areas, prompting many to question their future.
The report focuses on four key priorities:
- Rethinking the Form and Function of the City: Urban morphologies and systems should be reconfigured at different scales to not only enhance their resilience to the effects of the pandemic, but also make them more sustainable and productive through inclusive planning.
- Addressing Systemic Poverty and Inequality in Cities: Targeted interventions should be designed to mitigate the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 and related restrictions on poor and vulnerable groups through emergency assistance and service provision, at the same time taking steps to address the underlying causes of their exclusion.
- Rebuilding a ‘New Normal’ Urban Economy: A suite of tailored economic support and relief packages should be developed to help smaller businesses, informal workers and at-risk sectors to survive the crisis, with an emphasis on “building back better” by promoting the transition to greener, more equitable urban economies.
- Clarifying Urban Legislation and Governance Arrangements: Authorities must recognize the need for more integrated, cooperative multi-level governance, with an emphasis on developing more flexible and innovative institutional and financial frameworks.