COVID-19 is shifting the focus from smart cities to resilient cities


The COVID-19 crisis has focused the minds of local governments on the need to build resilience into their recovery strategies.

Despite severe budget challenges globally, cities such as London and Tel Aviv, have set up dedicated resilience funds following COVID-19. Several cities have now pledged to recruit a CRO, including Austin, Texas, and a number of states in the US and regions elsewhere are developing legislation to create resilience officer roles or take on resilience responsibilities. The issue is going up the agenda in fast-growing cities in emerging markets too, as well as at the national policy level. India’s Ministry for Housing and Urban Affairs, for example, recently launched the Climate Smart Cities Assessment Framework, which aims to provide a clear roadmap for cities towards combating climate change.

Digital initiatives are playing a key role in resilience, too, with cities seeing their digitalisation planning as a way of supporting and driving resilience. Like CROs, the Chief Information/Digital/Innovation Officer is a relatively new post in many cities and importantly it is also cross-departmental because breaking down data silos is the key to cities being able to improve decision-making – as has been shown during the pandemic.

Read more on the topic of smart cities, here.