Seeing COVID-19 through an urban lens
Springer Science and Business Media LLC
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Acuto, M., Larcom, S., Keil, R., Ghojeh, M., Lindsay, T., Camponeschi, C., & Parnell, S. (2020). Seeing COVID-19 through an urban lens. Nature Sustainability, 3 (12), 977-978. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-020-00620-3
COVID-19 has changed the face of cities and recast urban life globally. In turn, cities have become the major theatres of the crisis for a once-in-a-century test to global resilience. Global health governance has thus far struggled to face up to the urban character of the pandemic. The UN Secretary General recently called for a better appreciation of how COVID-19 is unfolding in “an urban world” if we are to rebuild more sustainably. We argue it is imperative do so by attending to urban inequalities that underpin the crisis, and by understanding the fundamental inclusive development opportunity at play here if we allow urban expertise, and cities, closer to the heart of the global response. Under the presumptive ‘new normal’ of COVID-19, multiple intersecting policy agendas have come to the fore not just in the shape of health concerns but also with regards to environmental sustainability and ‘green’ economic recovery. Much of this has had to do with recasting the ways we live in cities. The UN has already stressed that approximately 95% of COVID-19 cases have taken place in urban settlements, with over 1,500 cities affected worldwide. Many have made the case that post-pandemic planning discussion must transcend dualistic framings pitting ‘health’ versus ‘environmental’ concerns, whilst not giving in to simplistic economic growth approaches. By far and large that implies radical changes to our cities and urban livelihoods. Yet these are rarely at the centre of the multilateral debate. We urgently need to attend to the urban socio-economic crisis underpinning COVID-19 that unfolds amidst the most vulnerable in cities both at the inter- and intra-urban scale.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-020-00620-3
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/310696
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