COVID-19 continues to hit our urban areas hardest, what makes our cities attractive also makes them most vulnerable to the virus.
Mass transit, the concentration of people and capital, and planned density all aid in the spread of the virus. In a rush to interpret an uncertain future, some theorists have suggested 70-years of rapid global urbanization might be over. But has the death of cities been greatly exaggerated?We’ve assembled a panel of urban theorists, policymakers and practitioners from around the world to discuss how cities are evolving to offer safety and security for their citizens in this new reality.
We also want to know what opportunities exist to leverage the crisis to make our cities resilient and sustainable. Food security, transit, employment, climate action all needs to be reevaluated at every level. Can cities transform themselves to meet these challenges, and if so, how do we ensure this transition is equitable for all?
Meet Environment's international expert panelists on COVID-19 and cities
Pierre Filion: Our moderator
Not out of the game just yet, retired researcher (and a bit of a legend) from Environment's School of Planning, Pierre Filion joins us to moderate a panel of cities experts from around the world.
Real estate and commercial strategy
COVID-19 sent shockwaves of uncertainty through the real estate market. Some businesses have thrived, while others have floundered. To help us understand how COVID-19 is transforming real estate — a powerful force in urbanization — we welcome Shelia Botting, Principal and President of Avison Young. She has worked extensively with municipal planners, architects and developers to envision and create new communities and places, that deliver sustainable healthy communities and financial feasibility.
Equitable urban transitions
Contemporary cities are both highly interconnected places and sites of growing levels of inequality. We can see these characteristics in how COVID-19 has impacted urban space. To help us understand how cities can turn crisis into opportunity we invited Juan Moreno-Cruz, a Canada Research Chair, and researcher in the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development.
Rural response to COVID-19
We know that cities and urban spaces have seen more cases of COVID-19 overall, but what unique challenges do rural communities face in the post COVID-19 world? To help us understand the dynamic between cities and their surrounding areas, we invited Professor Heather Hall, an expert in economic development in rural Canada and researcher in the School of Environment Enterprise and Development.
When policy meets reality
When COVID-19 hit Kenya, local leaders were confronted with its impact on informal settlements (slums) as well as their role as a vector for transmission. All the way from Nairobi we'll be joined by Isaac Mwangi an Environment alumnus and Chairman, for the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Nairobi. Isaac will share his takes on what policy works, what doesn't and what's next for cities in Africa — the most rapidly urbanizing place in earth.
Find out what else is happening for Alumni Black & Gold Day.