Impact of COVID-19
- Chair: Dr Kevon Rhiney, Assistant Professor, Rutgers University
- Framing presentation: delivered by Mr David Nabarro, Chair of Global Health and Co-Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at the Imperial College London. Special Envoy of WHO Director General on COVID-19 and Senior Advisor to the Food Systems Summit.
- Mr Kevin Bingham, Past President, South African Institute of Architects
- Mr VK Madhavan, Chief Executive, WaterAid
- Ms Victoria Delbridge, Head of Cities That Work, International Growth Centre
- Mr Tony Wong, Director, ARCASIA Emergency Architect Ltd.
- Ext Voice: Ms Shipra Narang-Suri, Chief, Urban Practices Branch, UN Habitat
The aim of the session was to consider the impacts of COVID-19 on the built environment and how built environment professionals can respond to the calls for us to ‘build back better’. As the final event in the Season II, it drew on the discussions held in the previous 4 events reflecting on the impact of COVID-19 on the capacity gap, conservation, climate change and inequality. The session aimed to highlight the important role that the built environment will play in the post-COVID recovery.
Following a short framing presentation by Mr David Navarro, Chair of Global Health and Co-Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at the Imperial College London, Special Envoy of WHO Director General on COVID-19 and Senior Advisor to the Food Systems Summit, David and Kevon were joined by a panel of discussants and the session concluded with time for question and answers from the audience.
This session was first broadcast on 20 May 2021 and was watched by over 128 participants from over 34 countries. The live recording of this session is available to watch at the top of this webpage.
- Mr Kevin Bingham: Governments need to seek meaningful engagement with architects and urban designers on the provision of all forms of public facilities and public open space, and to support and encourage more research on the risks of infection through contaminated air. They need to work with built environment experts to develop guidance for integrated design and operation solutions as a critical part of mitigating COVID-19 exposure and for future epidemics.
- Mr VK Madhavan: When the pandemic started, it was all about hand washing and water, physical distancing and masks. Today it’s all about vaccines, ventilators, oxygen and treatment. We should not forget water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), and housing for the urban poor to lead a life of dignity which will enable us to remain free of future pandemics.
- Ms Victoria Delbridge: We all need to recognise that a pandemic that starts in one place can spread to any other. Getting the basic infrastructure and services right needs global collaboration and global investment.
- Mr Tony Wong: Firstly, we need to help the vulnerable first. Secondly, we need to leverage current local, regional and global platforms to collaborate; we need to have global collaboration between countries and between disciplines.
- Ms Shipra Narang-Suri: Firstly, we need a much stronger commitment to rights-based development to leave no-one behind. Secondly, we need to support and empower local government and local actors as primary deliverers, and give them the adequate resources to respond, react and plan for a sustainable future.