Recovery, Renewal, Resilience

Lessons for Resilience

Consider how cities can build resilience by addressing poverty and inequality
Vulnerable people

Cities have grown considerably in the recent decades but this growth has exacerbated existing problems related to poverty and inequality. Deep-rooted inequalities have heavily influenced the degree and nature of COVID-19 impacts on society as whole. Thus, reducing inequalities, marginalization, and poverty should be a cornerstone of the strategy to recover and renew to increase resilience. Consider the following recommendations from the UN:

  • Ensure that strategies provide un-registered people (e.g. people who are homeless or reside in slums) with access to basic and affordable services, like water, waste disposal and sanitation facilities. Longer-term strategies should work to build the resilience of people living in informal settlements and reduce their vulnerability to crises
    • For example, the DARAJA initiative is working to build the climate resilience of vulnerable communities who are living in informal settlements in Tanzania and Kenya. The goal is to improve the climate resilience of vulnerable people by increasing their access to climate and early warning information through feedback loops that enable hazard communication and awareness in informal communities
  • Establish stronger labour and health protection for those not covered by formal government support systems e.g. casual/zero contract workers and people who work in the informal labour market
  • “Plan for mixed use, socially diverse communities”, to avoid the creation of segregated communities (e.g. migrant worker complexes) of discriminated groups (e.g. ethnic minorities) when planning for public housing
  • Establish policies that increase the long-term affordability of housing, by implementing measures such as “housing price caps, rent vouchers, subsidies, and investments in affordable or/and social housing”. Consider the example of Portugal, where the Resilience and Recovery Plan includes a total of EUR 2.7 million in affordable housing
  • Implement strategies that improve connectivity in cities and affordable transport options, particularly for low-income neighbourhoods, including cycling and open, safe and affordable public transportation (e.g. buses, trains, among others)
  • Invest in digital inclusion, by increasing infrastructure and training programmes, so that vulnerable populations can take advantage of recent trends such as digital government
  • Support a comprehensive recovery and renewal strategy for densely populated areas e.g. slums and informal settlements, by implementing a variety of measures, such as “equitable land management, regulation of property markets, and application of progressive land-based finance and value capture instruments”
  • Invest in communities, by engaging with them through meaningful participatory and inclusive methods (see TMB Issue 39 on co-production). Actively work to include “marginalized and minority groups, including persons of African descent, indigenous peoples, minorities and LGBTQ+”, so that their experiences and perspectives are fully heard and accounted for
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