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COVID-19 pandemic is affecting many aspects of the society, economy and the way people live. The pandemic is also disrupting the process of physical planning and development in the cities. It will perhaps permanently change the way planners and policy makers think about the city and plan for its development. The residents and visitors will also find the city to be different from the pre-COVID-19 era. The emerging situation would likely require new ways of moving, working and living in the city, and building the different physical components of the city.

Cities around the world are experiencing varieties of unexpected problems in tackling the COVI-19 pandemic crises. Political leaders, policy makers, planners and designers are developing guidelines to minimize and insulate from the spread of disease and improve urban public health permanently. However, some ideas for sustainable post-pandemic planning and development have already become apparent. For example, urban centers must facilitate the safe and efficient movement of essential workers and residents using real time information. Cities should also provide open and safe spaces for the residents to gather for recreation, de-stressing and as the means of reducing the urban densities. Planners are contemplating developing an effective transportation network that could be more efficient, sanitary and effective to keep urban areas safe if similar pandemics emerge in the future. Planners also are engaged in designing housing to promote public health that helps reduce the transmission of communicable diseases.

COVID-19 pandemic has prompted city leaders to find different ways of enhancing self-reliance. Proper planning approaches for transportation, water supply, and sanitation are needed to create a self-reliant city. Likewise, planners also are facing challenges related to meeting the food needs of the urban dwellers to better manage future public health emergencies. Ways to promote local food production through urban farming and even rooftop and on-balcony farming need to be devised for this purpose.


Institute of Foreign Affairs (IFA), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nepal