Speaker Series #05 – One Year of COVID-19: Delivering a Green and Just Recovery

Mar 2021

About the Session

The Speakers

Cities on the Frontline cover image.

Cities on the Frontline Speaker Series

#05 – One Year of COVID-19: Delivering a Green and Just Recovery

For over a year, cities across the globe have been at the forefront of the COVID-19 response.  In our fifth Cities on The Frontline session of 2021, we reflected on the lessons learned since our first session a year ago.

Time and time again we have heard the importance of cross-city collaboration and multi-stakeholder initiatives in successful recovery and response. Dr. Saini Yang discusses how instrumental this was for cities, such as Wuhan and other smaller, less connected villages in the Provinces. Chinese cities, regions and stakeholders less impacted were able to come to the aid of those that were by sending medical teams and resources to alleviate pressures on their existing healthcare system.

Early in their pandemic response, Milan launched a public participation process to build their adaptation strategy. With close to three thousand proposals from citizens, the process revealed that public spaces and urban greens were of highest importance. Piero Pelizzaro shares how this process resulted in Milan’s approach to a green and inclusive recovery. 

Professor Duncan Shaw highlighted the need for raising awareness and patience during the citizen engagement process. While professionals in healthcare, government or business may understand the nuances of the impacts the pandemic has had on their respective fields, the general public may not. Toolkits and resources like The Manchester Briefing, are beneficial in providing more information to the general public on the complexities of COVID-19 across areas such as public health, environment, infrastructure or economics. 

Moving forward, it is important to strengthen our networks, raise awareness and engage with diverse citizens and stakeholders to continue to recover from the pandemic and remain resilient in the face of future shocks.

Duncan Shaw
Professor of Operational Research & Critical Systems, The University of Manchester  

“Let’s not align renewal with Covid, let’s align it with ongoing strategic agendas that have a positive frame.”

“The remaining pressure to respond to the pandemic remains, as does recovery, renewal, politics, funding, and fatigue.”

Duncan Shaw‘s presentation

Saini Yang
Professor, International Centre for Collaborative , Research on Disaster Risk Reduction, Beijing Normal University

“What’s really been essential to recovery in China has been to have real collaboration between different stakeholder groups in order to effectively raise awareness, coping, adapting and transforming.”

Saini Yangs presentation

Piero Pelizzaro
Chief Resilience Officer, City of Milan

“A lot of our community is asking to bring back public spaces to people instead of cars, which was really inspiring.”

“We are strongly investing in the green and circular economy as the first elements to recover the city from the pandemic.”

Piero Pelizzaros presentation

Watch full session here:

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