“With over half of the global population living in urban areas, cities and urban local governments have been at the forefront of the pandemic. Cities have been left with an indelible mark, thereby making us rethink various social, cultural, economic and institutional aspects of urban development. In the wake of COVID-19, our cities have demonstrated the immense ability and capacity to adapt to any crisis ranging from developing creative urban responses to immediate locally relevant solutions. At the same time, the pandemic has also exposed certain fundamental issues of equality, access, disparities and development.
Management of the COVID-19 crisis needs an integrated approach with an overarching strategy at the central government level and implementation initiatives at the sub-national levels of the government. It is imperative to build future-ready resilient cities with a comprehensive understanding of the crisis response, preparedness and recovery at the urban level. This will help build an urban safety net and reduce the vulnerability of highly localised crises in the urban centres. We may need to relook at organizing our cities differently, while simultaneously focusing on inclusivity along with economic growth.
Management of the COVID-19 crisis can be tailored differently for high risk neighbourhoods depending on the spatial disparities of the pandemic impact. Access to basic infrastructure and health care is of paramount significance for effective response and recovery in urban areas. Innovative and targeted interventions may be explored for vulnerable population and geographical areas. Considering how complex urban planning and infrastructure development is, we need a multi-pronged approach towards understanding these issues at a granular level and help develop evolving and transformative responses. These experiences can teach us how to create inclusive, sustainable and resilient urban environments with informed policy making for the future.”
– Anil Bansal
Director – Urban & Reforms
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