Research and Publications

Sara Alidoust at 2023 International Making Cities Liveable conference in Poundbury, UK

Developing Resilient and Liveable Cities: Learning from the Covid-19 Pandemic

The Covid-19 Pandemic revealed the deficiency of the current planning system in coping with disturbances and the inability of cities to maintain their level of liveability during the time of crises. Building on a systematic review of 28 liveability policies developed by local governments from six different countries, this research explored how ‘liveability’ was defined and what approaches were used to develop liveable cities worldwide. Key themes, including ‘community health’; ‘social justice’; ‘environmental management’ and ‘transport’ were cited in at least 75% of the policies. However, the research revealed some key deficiencies with current liveability policies as a result of their lack of focus on urban resiliency. In-depth semi-structured interviews with researchers and professionals who were involved in planning liveable cities underlined the importance of ‘local living’ and ‘people centred planning’ as key principles to addressing the institutionalised inequities built into our cities and making them more resilient when facing shocks and stresses such as pandemics. Interviews also suggested ‘integrated long-term planning’, ‘responsiveness and adaptability’ and ‘future-proofing’ as other key principles of developing cities that are both liveable and resilient.

This research suggests that the resilience of a city is a necessary condition for its liveability. It highlights specific policy opportunities and limitations in planning for sustained liveability and assists policymakers to strengthen policy targets and reduce inequities in the planning and delivery of urban infrastructure and services.

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