Have you ever wondered the city you live in can be the home to thousands of diseases? Has your worst nightmare of getting consumed by the treacherous riots of your city come true? We all have had the worst anxieties about our cities someday or the other. There cannot be one particular city in the world that has not been affected by some kind of manmade or natural disaster.
The worst part about living in a city is that you never know how it behaves the next second. The unexceptional changes in the environment, especially with the weather, are evidence of how unpredictable cities can be. After the outbreak of the Coronavirus, city populations have been reduced to mere statistical numbers of deaths by the disease. Besides deaths, the COVID-19 pandemic also pushed 31 million people to poverty due to the lack of basic sustainable resources.
Life in a city is like playing a never-ending game of escape rooms. You are always looking for the next puzzle piece that will help you escape your grim reality. But it is high time that we stop ignoring and start acknowledging the stream of problems that overshadow mother earth. These changes not just affect the people living in an area but thousands and thousands of animals, plants, and organisms that live with them.
Essential Questions to Ask Your City
Cities are a hub of a huge variety of glamour, attractions, food, lights, and histories. But have you ever thought how these cities and the smaller places within them, such as gardens, washrooms, malls, and offices, can be the breeding ground for diseases like cholera, dengue, and more? If you pause to think for a moment, you will realize that we never ask some of the most fundamental questions about the place we choose to live in. Take these concerns for example:
- Is my city clean?
- Is my city safe for people and the environment?
- Is my city flexible towards the needs of its citizens?
- Does the provision of my city safeguard the interests of the people?
- How does the government work towards the disruption caused by pandemics?
These are some of the basic questions we all should ask ourselves about our cities and try to work on these. But if it all sounds too much, let’s streamline it to three essential questions for cities in 2022.
Are disruption and Uncertainty the Latest Trends for Cities?
Since the past two years, the uncertainty of which pandemic wave will hit us next has become the new normal. Amidst all the disruption that has been caused to cities, COVID has made it even worst for the people to live in. It knows no social exclusion- when it hits the city, no race, gender, or class is spared. We all are now on the same level of social status since no corner in the world is immune to these diseases.
Cities themselves are complicated systems of traditions, rules, and divisions. Casting provisions that are against the people can get daunting and put the cities on a regressive track. The chaos caused by calamities such as fires, floods, and earthquakes has taken thousands of lives, adding to the destruction of the pandemic. But the question is, can these problems be predicted or controlled?
The shift in technologies and their effect on the environment has left an ambiguous aftertaste on the world’s tongue. New innovations in medicine are saving lives, but are they also the cause for new-age crises like COVID? Technologies are building the world into a place of pace and efficiency, but can they be held responsible for destroying the balance of the earth’s natural ecosystems? The uncertainty cannot be regarded as something new because scientists had already anticipated and warned against all of these dangers in the near future.
Can Resilient Cities be Inclusive and Sustainable?
Resilient cities have been able to adapt to the changes and formulate policies and better ideas for the citizens. But are these cities sustainable and inclusive for everyone? The acute shocks and chronic stressors can be different for different classes and hence, are not always looked at by the government thoroughly enough. The issues that affect the higher strata tend to be the only ones that are acknowledged.
The reality of cities that seem to respond to crises very promptly is often a grim one, deep down. Most of the time, their measures fail to be inclusive. Many parts of the world are still not able to include every class and race in policymaking. For example, when the cities are in danger because of any possible calamity, the main focus is always on optimizing the resources towards people who can help in building the society to better heights.
When a large number of people live in close proximity, the risk of the spread of a disease can be even more. And the lower the class you belong to, the more crowded your living condition tends to be. Urban planners should consider the potential bond between resilience, inclusiveness, and sustainability to create a living space that is safe for everyone and includes everyone within.
How can Cities Learn and Apply the Lessons?
It is high time for cities to learn from the mistakes that have been committed and recover from these. But how will these be done unless the cities start implementing benevolent policies for their people? Despite all the differences, cities always tune to their peers for inspiration. The inter-city learnings have taken off over the past few years. Cities have been more vigilant in adapting to the changes and learning from mistakes.
New experimentations with urban planning and policy concepts are being embraced by cities in response to the complex challenges and intersection of uncertainties. Innovative approaches like urban living laboratories and experimental districts have become more active in testing and acknowledging the newer aspects of the world. The focus of cities should be on improving their knowledge by capturing and exchanging ideas under monitoring systems and having a better allocation of funds that is inclusive for everyone.
A series of unfortunate disasters have hit cities in every part of the world in the past few years. COVID has made things only worse on a global scale. While some administrations were able to fight back, even partly, others failed their citizens big time. The year 2022 should be the year of improvement and new learning. The three questions discussed above can be regarded as the basic awareness needed to start working towards the betterment of society as a whole.
Author Bio: Author Bio: Charlotte Lin is a content creator at escaperoom.com. She’s a passionate young woman, mother to an amazing nine-year-old, and an avid reader. Over the years, writing has helped her explore and understand the world as well as her own self. She loves to travel, meet new people, and spend quality time with her daughter. You can find her on LinkedIn.
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