Can COVID-19 fill the void of City Governance for Urban Transformation?
COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the fragility of our urban systems like never before. In India and across the globe, the pandemic has taken its roots in cities and proven to be the single most potent disruptive force to the “engines of economic growth”.
The pandemic has very clearly demonstrated that while national and state governments play a crucial role towards a systematic and unified approach to response and mobilizing resources, it is the cities and urban systems where the battle is being fought. Making cities function in the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, is proving to be the biggest challenge. The fallout from the pandemic will lead to many new norms once cities start bouncing back and moving towards the recovery path. However, we must not forget that COVID-19 in fact is just another threat in a landscape fraught with disasters – earthquakes, floods, severe weather, which have all brought city life to its knees but never at this scale, speed, intensity and duration. In all of these scenarios, the urgency to revisit and adapt our city planning principles and approaches, cannot be emphasized more.
Empowering urban local bodies to fast-track local action: This is also the time to push for decentralized governance and strengthen local administration as sound bottom up governance approaches have been more successful in the wake of disaster response