Speaker Series #17 – Metropolitan Resilience

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Cities on the Frontline #17 – July 2, 2020

COVID-19 has exposed underlying vulnerabilities within cities’ system and exacerbates existing social inequalities transcending municipal boundaries. Managing a coordinated response at growing metropolitan regions becomes more complicated as different jurisdictions and government levels interfere. With traditional city boundaries becoming less fixed and meaningful, building resilience at the metropolitan scale requires new partnerships and collaborations.


Agencies that help coordinate between multiple jurisdictions have played an important role during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The disease didn’t stop at the city limits, so measures taken to tackle the spread of the virus and support communities worked best when coordinated well beyond city limits, Octavi de la Varga, Metropolis Secretary General pointed out in his opening.

Xavier Tiana, Director of International Affairs at the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona , and Mario Silva, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Planning Institute of Guadalajara provided example on how their agencies helped coordinate actions in areas such as waste management, public transport and power utilities. They pointed to the importance of such mechanism at a time when cities around the world are facing significant budget pressure. Mass transit systems, for example, are facing a significant loss of revenues and are having to implement additional hygiene and safe distancing measures. Barcelona and Guadarajara are responding to this challenge by devising plan to finance the budget shortfall of public transport agencies and expanding their network of bicycle lanes to complement the existing transport systems.

Watch full session here:

Speaker Series #17 – Metropolitan Resilience