As Member States review strategies to bolster local action to "Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development" in an era of COVID19, there is no choice but to consider the relationship between urban form and health. While cities are severely hit by the pandemic, prior public health crises have brought about improved sanitation, and better housing, streets and public spaces in many cities. At the moment, the outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic is uncertain, with some envisaging a retraction from cities, and others expecting that cities will continue to adapt and thrive. Underlying such thinking are assumptions about density and disease. Research has started to show that this relationship is not direct, and to stress the importance of housing conditions, income, health care, public space, and sanitation.
The side event which is led by UN-Habitat and co-organized with the World Health Organization, seeks to contribute to bolstering local action to accelerate the implementation of Agenda 2030. It will help develop a greater understanding among policymakers, practitioners, and research institutions about the relationship between urban form and disease prevention. The side event will provide an opportunity to consider available evidence and experiences from member states and to strengthen cooperation across health and urban development sectors in the era of COVID-19 and beyond.