COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of having efficient and interconnected urban management systems with an ability to tap into and divert supply chains to help respond to public health crises. The implications of both strong and weak management systems have been demonstrated across the globe. The crux of a successful urban management system throughout this crisis has been the ability of City Governments to interface effectively with existing networks of technological and digital infrastructure to manage and monitor for the public good.
Going forward, a strong lesson learned is the importance of having this digital infrastructure supported by a strong web of interconnected data, with the ability for this to be easily adapted in response to rapidly developing situations. With the right infrastructure in place, we can obtain actionable analytics and identify responses that can be implemented in almost real time. Thinking about this digital infrastructure alongside a complementary urban management framework, needs to be incorporated early on in the planning and design of new neighbourhoods and commercial districts alongside more traditional infrastructure such as energy, water and transport. Getting this right early on will help create more sustainable cities that are also more resilient in their ability to respond to future events. This means we need to think about urban infrastructure and the management and use of this urban infrastructure in an integrated way and early on in the planning of our cities.
This would be valuable not just during a crisis but could serve to strengthen public health and environmental facilities under normal circumstances. Such normal operation and improvement based on real experience would serve to give the city renewed strength, making it better able to respond to events such as COVID-19.