The Innovation Unit has been tracking some of the interesting innovative ideas emerging from different cities around the world in response to COVID. From the re-purposing of community infrastructure into makeshift hospitals to the use of robots to deliver food and remind people to social distance in parks, new ideas and innovative responses continue to emerge as people try and adapt to the challenges and opportunities.

The inventory is divided into thematic areas including:

  • Economy including the informal economy
  • Water and sanitation
  • Slums and informal settlements
  • Urban food security
  • Planning and urban design (including public space and any initiatives that link health and planning)
  • Repurposing urban infrastructure
  • Urban streets and public spaces
  • Urban environmental
  • Transport and mobility
  • National Urban Policy and Urban legislation initiatives
  • Small towns and regional centres
  • Migration and migrants
  • Post conflict settings
  • Homeless and homelessness
  • Women
  • Elderly
  • Youth
  • Children
  • People with disabilities

The inventory provides insights into the future planning and development challenges and opportunities facing cities and as such, can inspire us to reflect on how cities are now rapidly evolving and changing right before our eyes.

The inventory is by no means exhaustive and relies heavily on media-based content. Where possible, primary sources of information have been included. We have tried to get examples from different countries and regions and is a work in progress.

If you have an innovation to share, please contact

Check out our spread sheet of innovations here.