Bringing all city stakeholders together
The pandemic response has forced unprecedented collaboration between national, state, city and local governments, and metropolitan planners. Areas of government and industry that have traditionally had little interaction have worked together to implement public health measures while maintaining economic activity and keeping crucial areas such as logistics and transportation afloat.
This needs to continue – and additional institutional capacity created to meet complex urban needs.
Governance is a major differentiator in cities’ post-pandemic approach. Many cities have active localities, but weak or absent metropolitan and regional structures. Empowered bodies with a city-wide focus like the Greater Sydney Commission’s remain relatively rare internationally.
Cities are at various stages of transitioning from crisis response to developing long-term strategic metropolitan plans. Big moves are possible in the pandemic recovery, such as introducing a flexible region-wide approach to development and land use. The San Francisco Bay Area’s 2050 Strategic Plan is underpinned throughout by equity and resilience considerations.
Many cities see considerable scope to explore public-private partnerships for city-wide agendas such as building affordable housing, financing public transport investments or seeding venture capital.
Civic organisations and community stakeholders also have important roles to play. London is pursuing partnerships with borough councils, businesses and public sector departments to solve challenges ranging from revitalising high streets to improving digital access.
The San Francisco Bay Area has held community engagement workshops to understand specific locational housing needs. Involving disadvantaged populations in planning processes, and appropriately recognising their contribution, is all about building social capital and the coalitions for long-term change.