【FOCUS】 Fight Against COVID-19, Remain City Resilient (2)
The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has exerted a globally dramatic impact on people's daily lives and the urban development since 2019. Despite hardships, many cities remain resilient, seeking every opportunity to recover in the post-COVID-19 era. Under the guidance of Sustainable Development Goals, many cities have developed innovative and practical initiatives, bringing a wealth of experience of pandemic response. Today's In Focus will show you five initiatives of urban innovations that display resilience during the pandemic.
Alliance for Local Food Policy Transformation in the Post-Pandemic World
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased Rosario’s public spending on food demand and the need for food assistance. The surge in demand has made it imperative to establish coordinated and short-term food security actions and identify the structural demand for food. As a result, the city fosters a coordinated and integrated social policy with a multi-dimensional approach to ensure an adequate, healthy, and diverse food supply to the most vulnerable members of the population.
The city does this in three ways. Firstly, it integrates multidisciplinary perspectives to look into its food security issue and acknowledges the root causes and inter-relations. Secondly, the city develops ongoing monitoring and assessment instruments to ensure greater consistency and better planning to enhance the impact and positive outcomes. Thirdly, the city is coordinating a new institutional scheme to serve as a platform for the solutions implemented in the territory. The initiative has already benefited 300,000 residents.
Bogota’s Temporary Cycle-Tracks Strategy Is Contributing to Face the COVID19, Fostering Bicycle Usage as a Social Distance Instrument
BOGOTA is considered as the Latin American capital of bicycles. Over the past 20 years, the city has created 550 kilometers of bicycle lanes and introduced cycling-promotion events, including the famous weekly Ciclovía and the yearly Day without Cars.
During the pandemic, the city created 76 kilometers of temporary bicycle lanes and reduced the city-wide speed limit to reduce the risk of transmission through public transportation. New laws, regulations, and authorisations have been issued to expand bicycle space capacity in parking lots and install bicycle parking furniture in public spaces to encourage the use of bicycles. This initiative also has a gender focus to it—more than 300 officers from the National Police are assigned to monitor the lanes in order to protect female cyclists from encountering sexual harassment.
Three months after its launch, 3.2 million cyclists were recorded. Since the bicycle is an affordable vehicle, this initiative directly benefits the low-income population. Cycling improves their access to job opportunities, saves money, and enhances their ability to meet basic needs. It has also contributed to reducing carbon emissions and promoting healthy habits. Due to its success, it has inspired similar practices in neighbouring and overseas cities such as Medellin, Mexico City, and Berlin.
JEONJU, REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Three Good Campaigns and Layoff-Free City Project
The economy of the South Korean city of Jeonju was placed into a state of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With tightened preventive measures, consumer confidence was on a continuous slide. As a result, companies faced hardships, and unemployment surged.
In response, Jeonju rolled out its COVID-19 Reaction Policy, covering public health, economic growth, and job security areas. Key projects include the Three Good Campaigns (Good Leaser Campaign, Good Sanitation Campaign, and Good Consumption Campaign) and Layoff-Free City Project. These projects make the residents take on the habit of sterilization and provide companies and workers with a variety of benefits and support. The policy and its projects have been welcomed by the residents of Jeonju.
The Learning City at Home —— Municipal Units in Contact with Gdynia’s Citizens
Although COVID-19 subjected the polish city of Gdynia to lockdown, the city has found a way to connect with over 24,000 inhabitants: encouraging them to go online instead to access the various services, including culture, education, science, art, and social issues.
In designing this online offer, the city collected and analysed the residents’ opinions through its website, social media, and phone calls – particularly with seniors. Based on their feedback, all municipal units cooperate with local and regional experts from different sectors to curate live streamed or recorded content, which was then disseminated on their website and social media.
The most visible result of the project is the popularisation of alternative channels for reaching and supporting residents. The Web has become an equal platform for the city to present a diverse package of services. In the longer run, the initiative may help build trust and closeness between the residents and the institutions / NGOs.
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Role of Dubai Municipality in Mitigating Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic via Artificial Intelligence
Dubai employed the force of artificial intelligence to combat this highly contagious disease.
The city connected land plans with designated areas for specific uses (e.g., residential, commercial, and recreational) and open spaces to develop a “heat map.”
The city used it to monitor covid-affected areas and follow up on the compliance of parks, beaches, shopping centres, salons, and other establishments with precautionary measures. This real-time information helped the city make accurate predictions as well as proper decisions, such as imposing lockdown and identifying priority areas of the National Disinfection Programme launched by the UAE.
During its national programme implementation, Dubai used smart and modern disinfection techniques such as drones and modified motorcycles to sterilise mosques, schools, and other facilities. In addition to the smart disinfection vehicles, the city also customised and promoted its smart application, Montaji, to report fake consumer products.
The AI-powered heat map, in combination with smart sterilisation techniques, enabled 100% completion of the National Disinfection Program. This contributed to the prevention of Covid-19 cases, especially in densely populated areas, and, further, allowed reopening of these areas and the resumption of economic activities.