The impact of COVID-19 has re-shaped urban life around the world. Local communities have played a key role in contributing to keeping people safe and maintaining some economic activities.
UN-Habitat’s latest World Cities Report reinforces the benefits of cities that engage all stakeholders, including local communities to foster sustainable cities. The Secretary-General has identified cities and communities as being on the frontline of the COVID-19 response. Collectively, we can truly foster sustainable cities for all.
As the trend of migration from rural to urban areas continues, it is estimated that by 2050, one billion people with disabilities will live in cities. Many of these urban centers, with cores dating back hundreds or even thousands of years, are currently ill-equipped to respond to this demand. There is, therefore, an immediate challenge for architects, urban planners, and city officials to address the inaccessibility of historic cities, from uneven cobblestones to narrow, stepped alleys, creating an urban realm that offers universal mobility without detracting from their historic charm.
Advances in technology are democratizing urban cores which were previously inaccessible to many citizens. As historic city cores are required to accommodate further increases in population, those involved with shaping the built environment will be required to continuously examine how new innovations can transform old cities.