UN observes World Cities Day every year in order to “either promote successes of urbanization or address specific challenges resulting from urbanization.” This year, communities worldwide will observe the day on 31st October with the theme “Valuing our Communities and Cities.” The aim of this year’s event would be building and deciding on sustainable solutions depending on the level of impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. World Cities Day 2020 will provide us some key insights on how the megacities will adapt to the current changing circumstances and what necessary transitions we need to ensure.
What does the theme “Valuing our Communities and Cities” mean?
World Cities Day has an incentive to promote the international community’s interest in global urbanization to recover and redirect any collateral damage. The intention is to push forward cooperation among nations in meeting potential opportunities and addressing any challenges of urbanization. This will eventually lead to the sustainable development of communities and cities around the world. World Cities Day reflects urban lives and considers their future. In the past 12 months, life in the city has transformed. The health impact of COVID-19 alongside the socio-political and financial upheavals has reshaped urban life worldwide.
The value of the economy in developing sustainable cities
Urbanization always creates opportunities for better experience. An increase in opportunities provide pathways out of poverty and act as an engine of economic growth. Still, the contribution of diverse communities within cities is often only recognized to a limited extent, if at all. The national and local governments of different countries adopted different layers of responses to COVID-19. As a result, the recurring role and value of communities in urban settings are into sharp focus. Such evaluation has forced us to reconsider the importance of local actions for urban resilience and recovery. The pandemic has rightfully highlighted the core weaknesses in many urban systems. These are mainly economies that rely too heavily on global and national markets, which do not sufficiently recognize the contribution and significance of local, social, and economic actors and networks.
Environmental impacts and reintegration through communities
Communities worldwide play a key role in the preservation and restoration of the environment in cities and developing innovative responses to climate challenges and building urban resilience. Therefore, numerous local initiatives aim to ensure environmental sustainability and to work on solutions for collective global action. These actions include community gardening, an increase of vegetation spaces, river cleaning, better access to clean and pure water, adapting to green technology. With such initiatives, they gradually get the limelight on the policy level in the national and international domain. “Green Economic Activities” can render more sustainable solutions to economic shocks and pandemic challenges for a comprehensive and resilient approach. These activities must involve community knowledge, capacities, and awareness actions.
Community engagement for reshaping the social values in cities
World Cities Day 2020 focuses largely on identifying and building specific roles of communities and how to remodel them for enhancing global capacities. Local communities in a city play an integral role as neighborhood-level data through their networks. These micro-level interactions create a blockchain of recognition. The recognition helps to understand the impacts and decide changes that we need for our socio-economic conditions. The state governments need to engage with the communities systematically when deploying new technological advances to the maximization of benefits and participation of locals. As a result, integration happens to the urban communities gradually in the processes of planning, design, development as well as the implementation of new ideas.
Henceforth, the outcomes of such changes become more sustainable. And so, community engagement must become a continuous and re-iterative cycle that must advance through policy and legislation. As a result, this approach results in the integration of new thinking that ushers in co-creation and co-generation of ideas and solutions.
Innovation through identification and ideation
Innovation can lead to living in the future world. Many cities around the world have successfully transitioned their low-cost and under-utilized urban spaces into dynamic and creative places. Those spaces now offer multi-dimensional functions. These include collaborative workspaces, high-end research, and lab facilities. In addition, improved access to technological amenities has emerged as vibrant centers for innovation. Henceforth, we can say that a great part of a city’s success depends upon the anticipation of global trends. The levels of that predictability will be accurate and close to reality if we focus on leveraging local ideas with context-specific community innovations. World Cities Day 2020 exclusively focuses on innovation and idea generation to cater to our futuristic challenges. Henceforth, the global goals and agendas must be homogenous and aimed towards a specific list of sustainable development categories.
These local levels of idea generation will eventually lead us towards urban-focused innovations and sustainability solutions. These will increasingly shape global trends and policies. Therefore, cities that can attract and foster creative and innovative individuals and communities through culture, education, and discourses are more likely to generate appropriate responses in the field of futuristic innovation.
World Cities Day 2020 encompasses community building, fighting the pandemic, and ensuring justice to future generations. Observation of this day with solidarity can keep our focus in place. As a result, such focuses will push for a brighter future of innovation, augmentation, and freedom from pandemics.