20 Mar Helping to Flatten the Curve of COVID-19
In the passing days, we’ve seen global and local leaders take strong precautionary measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. While cities will continue to feel the magnitude of this health pandemic, we want to applaud the bold leadership happening in cities around the world.
We support the recommendations from our public health experts to encourage social distancing to slow the spread of the virus. This unprecedented health crisis reminds us that we all have a responsibility and a role to play in ensuring the overall health and well-being of our communities, especially for our most vulnerable residents and those at increased risk of severe illness from the virus.
City leaders are having to make very tough decisions and take decisive actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19. That means closing schools, all non-essential services, and reducing the operating hours of public spaces and community centres.
Our organization’s mission is to bring people together to transform public space so that we can create more equitable cities. When your goal is to increase social connectedness and sense of belonging in communities it is not easy to practice social distancing, but we know it is absolutely critical at this time.
We also recognize that self-isolation can bear harmful impacts on one’s mental and physical health, particularly for those people who are already experiencing isolation. We are heartened to hear of initiatives from some of our local partners who are already working to support those who may be experiencing increased social isolation as a result of this crisis, particularly those over the age of 80.
Our parks, streets and public spaces are critical infrastructures in our cities that support our health and wellbeing, in times of crisis and in our daily life. We encourage you to abide by your local authorities’ guidelines for the safe use of parks amid COVID-19. Here are two useful resources from our colleagues at the National Parks and Recreation Association in the U.S and World Urban Parks (global).
We know our work on transforming cities into places that are centred on the health and happiness of human beings will be critical in the recovery effort and feel further motivated in our responsibility as city builders to increase social trust, resiliency and equity in our cities.
For now, our team continues to practice social distancing by working from home and avoiding gatherings. We’ve transitioned meetings to videoconferencing and conference calls. For the time being, we’ve also suspended all travel and hope that in the near future we can resume our in-person meetings, workshops, and public engagements. We continue to be proactive in the ways we stay connected with our projects, clients, and partners and are already looking into creative solutions to keep supporting our mission to create better cities for all during this crisis.
We remain optimistic and genuinely believe that we and cities at large will emerge from COVID-19 stronger than before. We will continue to abide by Health Canada and the World Health Organization guidelines.
We will keep washing our hands, avoid touching our faces, continue to work on our projects, support vulnerable community members, breathe, and be thankful for those at the frontlines.
We at 8 80 Cities will continue to do our part to #flattenthecurve and encourage our amazing partners and supporters to do the same.