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Berlin hosts international mayors conference on post-Covid future of cities

Berlin hosts international mayors conference on post-Covid future of cities

'Metropolis: The New Now' will bring together experts, artists and politicians to discuss how to tackle old and new urban problems

Berlin will host a conference of mayors from around the world to discuss the post-pandemic future of cities as well as how to face new and old challenges. The conference will take place between 11 and 14 August both in-person and online and is called ‘Metropolis: The New Now’.

The Governing Mayor of Berlin Michael Müller organised the event in the hopes of bringing together politicians, thought leaders, city designers and experts to exchange experiences and ideas for a better tomorrow.

The new culture of multifaceted collaboration

More than half of all people on Earth live in urban areas. Cities are decisive factors for overcoming global challenges, such as climate change, sustainable mobility or sufficient and affordable housing.

According to Mayor Müller, COVID-19 showed that constant exchange of ideas is necessary for the common good, solving the big questions of our time together. This is what ‘Metropolis: The New Now’ aims to promote.

On the 11 August, the main conference day, 11 mayors and more than 21 international experts will discuss the topic of “Quarantine Economies”, “Quarantine Urbanism”, “Public Luxuries”, “Disrupted Mobility” and “Civil Responsibility”. Some of the participants include the Mayor of Buenos Aires, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, who will speak in the afternoon about combating the pandemic and the climate crisis. Other city officials that will contribute to the exchange represent London, Warsaw, Nairobi, Los Angeles, Seoul, Jakarta, Amsterdam and Istanbul.

From 12 to 14 August there will be five in-depth programs in which politicians, experts and civic society will come into contact. In total, over 50 speakers will appear at the four-day conference. Most notably, the debate on the subject of "Disrupted Mobilities" will be broadcast from the airfield of the recently closed Tegel Airport.

The world is changing and cities have to change, too

The fight against the coronavirus pandemic has dominated daily life around the world for a year and a half now. It has changed so much – from the way citizens spend their free time to the way they interact with their loved ones.

The effects are quite noticeable in big cities, where the infections spread rapidly and the changes to daily life were particularly drastic. The pandemic revealed structural deficiencies in healthcare infrastructure, income inequality and housing.

At the same time, the crisis created a potential opportunity for finding solutions to longstanding challenges in cities.

Mayor Müller was quoted in a press release as saying: “The global pandemic crisis forced us to question a lot. However, Corona has also shown how adaptable we are - and in many areas such as digitisation, it has acted as an accelerator. COVID-19 revealed the strengths of cities and where there is more catching up to be done. Now it is time to design the 'New Now'.

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