The year 2020 has not been kind to cities.The worst impact of the pandemic was witnessed in cities; economic, health and social aspects of urban life were negatively impacted. The year also taught some valuable lessons to cities which shall not be forgotten while planning for a bright urban future for the coming years
Optimists focus on the bright future rather than the gloomy present. Since the end of the pandemic is in sight as a couple of vaccines are administered globally for their efficacy and it is strongly believed that the pandemic will be over by the first half of the next year. After this annushorribilis, everyone is expecting a great year ahead.
COVID-19 pandemic has caused 1.7m recorded deaths; many hundreds of thousands could have gone unrecorded in the cities and the hinterland where medical facilities were not enough for testing. The impact of the pandemic was also seen in economic output that is reportedly at least 7% lower than expected. The studies suggest that it is the biggest slump since the Second World War.
The last year has seen a seismic shift in priorities of cities, businesses and governments; and all of us witnessed a new world emerge in front of our eyes. Who had thought of attending hundreds of seminars and conferences on video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, WebEx Meet and many more?Students could not go to schools and studied online. No one imagined that they had to stay indoors for months under lockdown. Remaining indoors made us rely more on the Internet and mobile technology even for our day-to-day needs.
The disruption caused by the pandemic has given a way forward and produced many ground-breaking innovations. Nobody is quite sure how many of these changes will remain when normalcy returns, but it is quite certain that the things will no longer be the same. The learning of the pandemic will bring a new normal
The disruption caused by the pandemic has given a way forward and produced many ground-breaking innovations. Nobody is quite sure how many of these changes will remain when normalcy returns, but it is quite certain that the things will no longer be the same. The learning of the pandemic will bring a new normal. The pandemic has brought transformative changes in the conservative sectors such as healthcare, education, and governance in India and how they go about their usual businesses. In normal times, such changes would have required hundreds of meetings, study reports and whatnot.
COVID-19 has given all of us a warning. It has told us that we live in an unequal world where the impact of pandemic was felt hard by the people from the disadvantaged communities and groups such as the poor, women, migrants, elderly, and people with special abilities. All of us need to work together to end this inequality to build a fair world for our coming generations. The city governments have also thought about what are the most important areas where they should focus on going forward. They must learn from the lessons of the pandemic and reassess problems in their infrastructure and equitable service delivery. Every city has something or the other to learn from this pandemic. Cities like Mumbai, Delhi and many others where migrant workers come from different parts of the country need to work on developing a system which helps those who build their cities. Cities need to develop a strong and robust emergency response system for any impending crisis and this will require a renewed vision and an open mind to learn from the mistakes and experiences of fellow cities.