Covid, Cities and Sustainability

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Pandemic conditions have imposed a natural experiment upon global populations. The dramatic changes in societal interactions due to social distancing measures to control the spread of the virus disrupt normal routines and the ability to connect to the larger world as part of daily life. Cities are innovating and are embracing new strategies to safely maintain access to public space to provide a critical connection to the larger world. These changes are reshaping the landscape of cities by reducing pollution, supporting urban local food systems, spurring changes to local biodiversity and improving opportunities for multimodal transportation.

To understand the influence of changes in city policy and practice that facilitate access to nature and the outdoors in response to the pandemic, Biophilic Cities and its partners in the Biophilic Cities Network are undertaking research with two broad components.

The first aim will be to catalog and assess best practices that cities are utilizing during the time of the pandemic. Investigations will combine recent cell phone data with existing data to analyze which policies influence the ability of vulnerable populations to use urban green space during the time of the pandemic. The second aim is to examine how lessons learned from the current pandemic instruct cities as to their future planning and design, so that urban communities can maximize their resilience in response to future natural resource crises and pandemics.

This new themed Collection of npj Urban Sustainability will help us understand how cities are adapting to the Covid pandemic to enable them to be:

  • more resilient in the future, and
  • more sustainable as they respond to new opportunities created from the Covid-related economic disruption.
Four women with facemasks touching elbows as greeting


All articles have undergone npj Urban Sustainability's standard peer review process and have been subject to all of the journal’s standard policies. This includes the journal’s policy on competing interests. The Editors declare no competing interests with the submissions which they have handled through the peer review process. The peer review of any submissions for which the Editors have competing interests is handled by another Editorial Board Member who has no competing interests.

Further details about our collection submission policies can be found here.