What do cities need to recover from Covid?

CityLab Daily
Bloomberg

Let's talk about cities: This week, leaders from across the world are gathering virtually to address some of the most pressing issues facing global cities in the wake of Covid-19. The second day of the Bloomberg New Economy Forum kicked off this morning with an opening address from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who said he was seeking funding to build more smart cities as part of his goal to make urban centers more livable. "We are looking at a future where a major chunk of education, health care, shopping may happen online," he said.

Then a series of panels looked at what needs to be done for cities to not only bounce back after the pandemic, but come back even stronger. Speakers like Dublin Mayor Hazel Chu and Harvard University economist Edward Glaeser pointed to density as being instrumental to the recovery of cities, with emphasis on improving public transit systems, making buildings healthier and encouraging the "15-minute city" concept. In one panel, co-founder Zhang Xin of the development firm SOHO China maintained that density will continue to drive growth: "After the horrible virus goes away, people still want to live in highly populated cities," she said.

Other speakers touched on the importance of technology and economic mobility. "Even with a vaccine, beyond the physical recovery, there's still going to be an economic recovery that's likely to linger for many years," said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who added that making her city equitable remains her top priority. In light of the pandemic and a summer of social unrest over racial inequality, she said her goals have expanded in hopes of reaching even more people. You can hear her full remarks here, or read highlights from today's town hall on Bloomberg.

Tomorrow, the National League of Cities will host its 2020 City Summit, which will touch on how local government can make things like education access, affordable housing and crisis response more equitable in a post-pandemic world.

-Linda Poon

More on CityLab

America Locks Down From Atlantic to Pacific as Covid Rages
In a matter of days, America's long effort to revive its virus-battered economy has been put on pause -- or thrown into reverse -- as new infections soar at the fastest pace since the pandemic's earliest days.
The Pandemic Kick-Started an Urban Motorcycle Boom. Are Cities Ready?

Two-wheeled vehicles surged during lockdown on streets around the world. So have worries about noise, air pollution and safety. 

Florida's $15 Minimum Wage Vote Might Be a Tipping Point
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