Cities At The Frontlines Of COVID-19 Impact & Recovery

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Originally published on WRI’s Resource Institute News: Ross Center.

Cities are not only at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are also likely to see lasting changes from it, from their physical form to economic and community structure. On April 29, more than 600 participants tuned in to a high-level panel hosted by WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities that brought together key urban experts to discuss what national governments and cities should invest in now to respond to pressing needs and become more resilient in the future, and how urban investments can reach where they are needed most.

The fifth webinar in WRI’s “Build Back Better” series, this installment featured Global Director of WRI Ross Center Ani Dasgupta along with Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director, UN-Habitat; Sheela Patel, Founder and Director, Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centers, and Chair, Slum/Shack Dwellers International; Henk Ovink, Special Envoy for International Water Affairs, The Netherlands; and Sameh Wahba, Global Director, Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience and Land Global Practice, World Bank. Rogier van den Berg, WRI Ross Center Director of Urban Development, set the stage for the topic and moderated the discussion.

Panelists highlighted the myriad challenges facing urban areas today, particularly for low-income populations living in informal settlements, informal workers and migrants who are facing the brunt of the pandemic due to poor access to services and sanitation, lost livelihoods, and food shortages. But the discussion also reiterated why cities are key to re-investment and recovery. As governments reassess priorities and consider stimulus packages, the imperative for more resilient, inclusive, green cities is greater than ever. Building back better can accelerate both the recovery and resilience of cities. This requires a different approach to how investments are allocated, prioritized and designed, putting cities, settlements and communities at the heart of these processes.

Read more from Ani Dasgupta, Rogier van den Berg and other WRI Ross Center experts on urban resilience, inclusive planning, and equitable access to core urban services during and in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis:

Find the presentation slides on SlideShare:

Featured image: Presentation by Maimunah Mohd Sharif on UN-Habitat’s COVID-19 response and key areas of focus, April 2020.

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