The Top Urban Stories From a Year of Pandemic
The top articles from TheCityFix explore the many implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for cities. Photo by Max van den Oetelaar/Unsplash

As 2021 closes, most cities around the world continue to grapple with the uncertainty of a pandemic now in its second year. Amid dips and rises in cases, the emergence of new variants, and the ongoing challenge of vaccinating the world, many urban leaders and residents have nevertheless shown resilience and ingenuity in adapting and envisioning more livable cities.

Cities face not only COVID-19 but an escalating climate crisis that has brought extreme weather disasters and asks deep questions about the sustainability of many urban systems. We saw creative efforts to adapt persist from the early days and even be made permanent, including pop-up bike lanes and expansions to safe, accessible and car-free public space.

WRI experts and many guest contributors have continued to illuminate and support the efforts of communities to adapt. More than 180 authors contributed to TheCityFix this year. Our top articles reflect on the pandemic’s ongoing disruptions and its implications for urban planning, transportation and land use; analyze pressing climate solutions; and envision cities that are up to the challenges of building a world that works better for all residents. (Learn more about WRI projects working on COVID at our resources hub.)

1. Traffic Evaporation: What Really Happens When Road Space Is Reallocated from Cars? Darío Hidalgo

2. Low-Speed Zones Save Lives. How Do You Design an Effective One? Nikita Luke and Siba El-Samra

3. From Emergent to Permanent: 3 Steps to Transform Cycling Infrastructure Beyond the Pandemic, Camilla Zanetti, Alejandro Schwedhelm and Claudia Adriazola-Steil

4. New Land Use Mapping Paints a Clearer Picture of Urban Life, Caitlin Kontgis, Peter Kerins and Eric Mackres

5. The Long-Term Impacts of COVID-19: Transforming Transportation 2021, Schuyler Null and Hillary Smith 

6. Rethinking Urban Freight Transport in Mumbai: A Paradigm Shift from Road to Rail, Robin Kalia and Sudeept Maiti 

7. What We Learned After Analyzing 5 Months of Active Mobility Responses to COVID-19, Carlos Pardo and Tabitha Combs

8. The Case for Formal Urban Experiments, Jordi Honey-Rosés

9. How Can Public Bike Sharing Thrive in Indian Cities? Prateek Diwan and Anya George 

10. Better Parking Management Can Help Cities Recover from COVID and Achieve Public Policy Goals, Karra Tuluenga and Joni Wickham

Thank you to our contributors and thousands of readers for bringing us together in 2021. We remain committed to maintaining our collective resilience and working toward more sustainable, equal and healthy cities with you in 2022.

Hillary Smith is Communications Specialist for WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities.

Schuyler Null is Communications Manager for WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities.

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