There needs to be a future in which cities provide opportunities for all, with access to basic services, energy, housing, transportation and more. Cities are hubs for ideas, commerce, culture, science, productivity, social development and much more. At their best, cities have enabled people to advance socially and economically. With the number of people living within cities projected to rise to 5 billion people by 2030, it’s important that efficient urban planning and management practices are in place to deal with the challenges brought by urbanization.
Infectious disease outbreaks can have enduring influence on urban design and several have irrevocably shaped how modern cities feel and function. Throughout the ages, cities have bounced back from the initial shock of contagion and rebuilt residents’ trust after times of uncertainty.
What’s at stake in a world marked by pandemic response today? As the contours of post-coronavirus pandemic cities begin to take shape across the globe, there has been a flurry of speculations on the future of cities. Such shocks may fundamentally transform how the world acts on critical policy priorities, including climate change, poverty, racism, homelessness and pollution, among many others.
Many challenges exist to maintaining cities in a way that continues to create jobs and prosperity without straining land and resources. Common urban challenges include congestion, lack of funds to provide basic services, a shortage of adequate housing, declining infrastructure and rising air pollution within cities.
Rapid urbanization challenges, such as the safe removal and management of solid waste within cities, can be overcome in ways that allow them to continue to thrive and grow, while improving resource use and reducing pollution and poverty.
As we delve into exploring this Goal in its entirety, we must keep these three quite essential questions in mind:
How can cities best learn and apply lessons?
Are disruption and uncertainty the new normal in cities?
Can resilient cities be inclusive and sustainable?