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BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access March 15, 2021

Exploring the role of City Networks in supporting urban resilience to COVID-19 in conflict-affected settings

  • Kristen Meagher EMAIL logo , Nassim El Achi , Gemma Bowsher , Abdulkarim Ekzayez and Preeti Patel
From the journal Open Health


Background: It is estimated that by 2050, almost 70 percent of the global population will be residing in urban areas. In recent years, cities have become central in tackling key urban challenges and have demonstrated greater flexibility in policymaking and innovation than national governments. Cities are currently more inclined to learn from each other via networks, partnerships, and pairings to develop solutions to many global challenges including pandemics such as COVID-19.

Aim: To explore the role cities and city networks present in supporting urban resilience to pandemics focusing on conflict-affected settings.

Methods: A desk-based literature review of academic and grey sources was conducted followed by thematic analysis.

Results: Although most COVID-19 response plans have been developed and implemented by governments, the pandemic has revealed the significant potential for city networks in providing platforms for knowledge sharing and coordination of mitigation plans to address pandemic-specific interventions. We found that in conflict settings, city networks continue to play only a minor role, if any, compared to humanitarian and informal actors.

Conclusion: City networks have the potential to contribute to strengthening global collaborative approaches to pandemic responses, but this has not been given sufficient investment and even less so in conflict-affected settings. It is essential for these networks to be integrated within a wider multidisciplinary and multisectoral platform that includes academics, humanitarian and informal actors.

#These authors contributed equally to this work.


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Received: 2020-10-22
Accepted: 2021-02-22
Published Online: 2021-03-15

© 2020 Kristen Meagher et al., published by De Gruyter

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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