Nairobi, June 2020 - The first COVID-19 Urban Thinkers Campus Series organized by UN-Habitat ended successfully at the end of May with a set of key recommendations produced through a rich dialogue engaging over 1,100 participants in nine sessions.
The sessions took place under the COVID-19 Campaign run by UN-Habitat, the sessions were meant to engage a large range of stakeholders to show-case actions and reflect on key issues. Panelists included prominent city and community leaders, social workers, grassroot women leaders, planners and researchers, scientists, business leaders and journalists discussing facing the pandemic on the ground and preparing for a post-COVID-19 future in cities.
The format used for the sessions was the Urban Thinkers Campus, a participatory platform from the World Urban Campaign which has organized more than 150 such meetings since 2015, engaging some 45,000 participants.
The COVID-19 Urban Thinkers Campus Series began on 4 May 2020 with an event entitled ‘Facing Urban Vulnerabilities’ followed by sessions to reflect on the many gaps faced during the pandemic: the basic services gaps, the shelter gaps, the safety gaps and, the wage and social security gaps. A session focused on the role of community leaders at the front line and the role of urban planning and design in building pandemic resilience. The final session of this first series focused on reporting during pandemics engaging journalists and film makers. The discussions have been compiled in a report that highlights key recommendations.
The success of the first COVID-19 Urban Thinkers Campus Series hinged upon the dedication of key partners of UN-Habitat’s World Urban Campaign: Practical Action, Compass Housing, Habitat for Humanity, the Red Dot Foundation, Polycom Development, CJUR International, the Huairou Commission, the World Evangelical Alliance, ActionAid India, Smartly, Arcadis, ISOCARP, the Commonwealth Association of Planners, the Paris Region Institute and First and Main Films.
A second round of the COVID-19 Urban Thinkers Campus Series will be held in the coming two months to cover other key areas or go deeper into emerging issues in order to extract further recommendations for action. The post-COVID-19 recovery efforts will require further dialogue in order to establish alliances for action.