City Conversations: Connections between Cities, Infrastructure and Health

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An international panel explores the links between cities infrastructure, density and health in a post-covid world.

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COVID-19 has disrupted the normal activities of city life and also raised questions about equity in high density cities. The pandemic has brought to the forefront underlying vulnerabilities in global cities. When the ancients founded cities they provided protection for its citizens along with place of commerce and laws governing behaviour. Underpinning this was often a highly-developed understanding public health infrastructure, in particular the provision of drinking water and the disposal of waste. There is evidence that where these systems are weak in the current crisis, disease has flourished.

But we are facing a new invisible threat to the city that engineering infrastructure must find a way to deal with? Spatially we need to provide greater distance between people – or at least temporarily for sections of society. The quality of housing stock and particularly sanitation, ventilation and air movement have become key talking points. Do we need a change in hygiene culture aided by infrastructure engineering? Is prevention of infection a planning and engineering issue? This Conversation will explore the potential engineering and cultural shift that living with an invisible enemy may bring about. This will be explored on a local and international scale and we are delighted to welcome panelists from Europe, Africa, America and Asia.

Confirmed panelists:

Dr Priti Parikh, Happold Foundation Trustee (chairing) / Associate Professor in Engineering and International Development at University College London UCL.

Monica Lakhanpaul, Professor of Integrated Community Child Health, UCL

Isha Kulkarni – Engineers Without Borders. From Mumbai, India.

Dr. Sandile Mbatha - eThekwini Municipality. From South Africa

Dr Julie Godefroy – Julie Godefroy Sustainability

Professor Dragan Savic – University of Exeter. From Delft

Kathleen Hetrick – Sustainability Engineer, Buro Happold Los Angeles

Panelists each provide a short presentation or position statement, before the discussion is opened to contributions from the audience.

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