COVID Briefs Building back better: post-pandemic city governance

Pandemic, cities, and mutual support: the role of urban social innovation in the Covid-19 crisis

Ismael Blanco and Oriol Nel·lo

Ismael Blanco

Director, Institute of Government and Public Policy (IGOP), Autonomous University of Barcelona

Oriol Nel·lo

Lecturer in Geography, Autonomous University of Barcelona

The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has given rise to an outpouring of initiatives of solidarity and mutual aid around the planet. This article argues that city governments should take advantage of the momentum of urban social innovation to strengthen their ability to grapple with the social and health challenges posed by the crisis. Four main lines of action are proposed: 1) contributing towards expanding the territorial and populational reach of initiatives of solidarity by means of digital and other tools; 2) encouraging replication of the more successful experiences and facilitating their interconnection in physical and digital spaces; 3) fostering socially and spatially balanced development of these initiatives so that they can reach the most vulnerable urban groups and areas; and 4) promoting lasting relations of coproduction of policies and activities among local institutions and initiatives of social solidarity. Download COVID brief