It is happening at a time when a new reality is taking shape in cities, in Europe and globally. Cities have been the hardest hit by the pandemic as well as the social and economic consequences. It is also in cities that the urgency of dealing with other major challenges such as climate change stands out very clearly.
In the face of competing crises, what can city leaders do to set a new course? How can we reshape the city to match new needs? In the aftermath of the corona pandemic, the daily functioning of the city as we know it is challenged. When teleworking becomes the new normal, suburbs and the countryside, where life is more affordable and healthier, could be the winners. When restaurants, shops and offices are closing, the city loses some of its main revenues. When culture and entertainment, gastronomy and tourism are threatened, the attractiveness of the city is at risk. Is this ‘the death of the city’, as some already predict?
The biggest EU budget ever is on the table to pull Europe out of the crisis, by investing in a green, just and digital transformation – also in cities. And a new policy framework for a European Green Deal is in the pipeline, with direct implications on urban policies for green, inclusive and connected cities. But is the EU doing enough to support its urban areas in times of crises? Or can we think of new ways of working together to move beyond the crises and coming out of it stronger together?
At our Eurocities’ annual conference we want to explore the pathways for recovery and resilience and learn about what cities are doing to face more challenges ahead.