Re-imagining our urban future in light of COVID-19

Republished by ECBN from: Eurocities

The COVID-19 pandemic has quickly morphed from a health crisis into an economic one with violent shocks to our labour markets, and it threatens to evolve into a social and societal crisis with new groups of people entering into poverty and social exclusion. Recovery from this unprecedented state of affairs will be long and uncertain, and it has already hit our cities hard, but it also offers an opportunity for systemic change. A fresh start that would offer a more inclusive, equal and sustainable Europe.

A recent OECD analysis shows that the impact of the pandemic has been strongly asymmetric, both within and across countries, with larger cities particularly hard hit. One of the main concerns for large cities is the impact on local labour markets with job losses estimated at between 15 – 30%. In addition, given that many large cities are hubs of global value chains and thrive on tourism, the sectoral disruption of job losses and knock-on economic effects will be felt very differently across and within different cities. Cities like Amsterdam have estimated that the impact of COVID-19 on the local economy during lockdown triggers a GDP loss of €1.6 billion per month.

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