COVID-19 has become a fundamentally urban disease: social interaction, so characteristic of cities, has put them all at the epicenter of this pandemic. Through the local integration process it is possible for us to identify the main assemblages that constitute the Global Urban Network. Recognizing the inter-urban and trans-urban logics means exploring an unchaperoned horizontal cooperation, and the transformation of the city-state relationship, both nationally and internationally.
The economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis have been crippling, and unemployment is rampant. Up until now, the economy has been divided rather arbitrarily into a primary agriculture and extractive industry, a secondary manufacturing sector, and a tertiary «service» sector. The latter sector has become more and more bloated, with many unjustified jobs. Meanwhile, the pandemic has taught us that authoritarian and city-centric labor regimes are unnecessary. Work has the potential to be transformed into a new type of activity, an autonomous, productive play that allows for healthier, freer societies.
Cities derive their value from commons: goods, benefits, or services collectively, used, created and preserved, and are governed by collective action. In the case of Latin American cities and megacities in particular, collective action and sharing of resources has taken place during the COVID-19 crisis. However, a history of colonialism, neoliberal policies and inequality make this region particularly vulnerable during the pandemic. This article traces the reasons why now, more than ever, the Latin American region must learn from this crisis in order to build more resilient and equal societies.
In considering cities and how we want to construct them, it is fundamental to analyze the actors shaping them, and their capabilities. Beginning in the late 1980s, the financial sector and its innovative capacity for extraction has played a key role on the global stage, in a very different manner from that of traditional banking and corporations. Now, with the COVID-19 phenomenon also resembling a global actor, it becomes all the more clear that, no matter how it is disguised, high finance operates to the detriment of local and household economies, as well as to the flow of urban spaces.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the international racial justice movement sparked by the police murder of George Floyd have led many to deeply question the capitalist system of markets and nation-states. Bringing together fiction, theory, and real-world examples, this contribution asks the reader to imagine what a utopian city beyond both the state and the market might look like.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its immediate effects have not only triggered crises worldwide, but also have raised awareness about greater systemic failures that have been plaguing our modern society. Progressive advocates have already attempted to shed light on these problems, demanding alternative models. Further efforts might now resonate enough to implement them. As we present in the overview of all articles that compose the launch issue of metapolis, this is a step that depends on strengthened relations between transnational cooperation and public policy, to transform the life of citizens attuned to common values.
This article presents an approach and vision that should be considered in the different stages of policy making, in order to promote the wellbeing and happiness of individuals and their communities. This proposal is presented as a transversal approach that can be applied to various sectors and social rights, including health and wellbeing, education and lifelong emotional learning, food security, urban and rural spaces and flows, and housing and human habitats. The article closes with some final reflections on the future of government interventions, and approaches to the concepts of wellbeing and happiness.
Science is a fundamental pillar for designing effective policies and guiding public-private efforts. From the current pandemic to climate change, all of humanity’s challenges are closely interlinked with the biosphere. Global challenges require global, and therefore synergistic, responses. We propose Bioeconomics and Biodiplomacy as two new tools to integrate local, national and global initiatives for the transformation we need.
COVID-19 has exposed the very real weaknesses of global cooperation. It affects not only disenfranchised populations and underdeveloped countries, but also Europe. This pandemic has shaken a false sense of security among the more developed regions of the world. At the same time, we have witnessed how democratic societies are not necessarily less efficient than authoritarian ones when it comes to crisis management, and that far-reaching solutions are attainable when threats are perceived as sufficiently severe.
Solidarity, creativity and participation are the three main pillars upon which cities should be built. The COVID-19 pandemic has proven we cannot have healthy cities if the entirety of our citizens and government officials do not embrace the principle of solidarity. Participation is inherent to cities as public spaces of freedom. Last but not least, creativity is essential, as it allows us to imagine better worlds: it is only in imagining them that they can begin to be real.