Brussels – City centre becomes residential area

Pedestrians can walk on the streets in the centre of Brussels, with cars going on a maximum speed of 20 km/h. Until mid-August, the city centre is treated as residential area. The measure shall promote cycling and walking while ensuring physical distancing to limit the spread of the coronavirus. You can read more here. The city also plans for 40 extra kilometres of cycle paths.

Contact: Alfredo Corbalan

Dusseldorf – More space for restaurant terraces

With restaurants suffering severely from the impacts of the corona lockdown, the city of Dusseldorf wants to help restaurant owners by giving permissions to enlarge outdoor terraces. That way they can host more guests at the same time whilst applying to safety regulations. You can read more here (in German)

Contact: Stefanie Nietfeld

Athens – Pedestrianisation for physical distancing

Athens is banning cars from its historic centre for three months from mid-June to provide more space to pedestrians to physical distance. The measure, which could be further extended for another three months, is seen as a precursor to the project announced by the Athens Municipality, and approved last week by City Hall, foreseeing the creation of a large pedestrianized network unifying downtown areas of the Greek capital. More information here.

Contact: Dimitris Konstantopoulos

Madrid – Support for safe mobility

Madrid is curbing the return of cars to its streets by cutting traffic on several roads to allow children to play and exercise on the road on their bikes, scooters and rollerblades. More information (in Spanish) here.

The city has also opened a new car park reserved entirely for shared vehicles. More information (in Spanish) here.

The addition of 45km of new bus lanes is expected to further support residents who want to avail of public transport rather than turning to using cars. More information (in Spanish) here.

Contact: Ana Buñuel

Antwerp – Mobility for social distancing

Antwerp is taking measures to reduce the return of cars to the street and provide safe mobility options for locals, including by promoting safe walking and cycling and adding new features to its mobility map and route planner, as well as supporting companies to continue allowing employees to work from home. More information here.

Contact: Kris Van Berendoncks

Brno – Support for businesses


Brno is supporting the areas of business that have been most affected, such as gastronomy and tourism & culture, and has also approved complex measures for businesspeople. It provides easier administration of permits for the outdoor areas of restaurants, and it also suggests that the establishment of these areas should be done at no extra cost to the proprietor.

Continue reading “Brno – Support for businesses”

Bordeaux – Emergency cycling plan

Bordeaux has developed an emergency cycling plan that responds to physical distancing requirements. The measures should help ensure that cycling infrastructure can accommodate any potential wave of new cyclists. NGOs working to promote cycling and cycling service operators have helped to develop it.

The city wants to entice people who would not normally cycle to do so, particularly those who regularly use public transport. The plan focuses on 100 priority zones within the metropolitan area that have a high potential for cycling but currently lack the appropriate infrastructure. In total, Bordeaux is building 78km of temporary bike lanes. More information here.

Contact: Marie-Elisabeth Sapin

Paris – Updated overview of deconfinement measures

Paris started to gradually ease confinement on 11 May. Doing so has involved a host of measures, from distributing face masks and increasing testing, to information campaigns, reopening of schools, introduction of new bike lanes, and support measures for businesses, cultural institutions, NGO’s and other organisations that are now opening up. These measures are evolving as the situation progresses – read a full updated overview of these measures in English here, or in French here.

Contact: Jean-Yves Camus

Guimarães – Disinfecting Kindergartens

Guimarães has begun the the disinfection of the kindergartens of the public preschool network, through a specialized company, with a view to reopening next Monday, 1 June. This process started last Monday and runs throughout this week, covering around 50 schools in the municipality, in all school groups.

The Ministries of Education and Social Security have issued guidelines for the reopening of kindergartens, which open doors for children aged three to five again. The document for kindergartens indicates that “under no circumstances can masks be put on children.” These personal protective equipment will only have to be worn by adults. More information (in Portuguese) here.

Contact: Adelina Pinto

EU budget and recovery – Reclaiming the future for cities

Cities were hit hardest by the corona pandemic – Dario Nardella, mayor of Florence and vice-president of Eurocities, declares a state of social and economic emergency for his city and many others across Europe. In an article published on Euractiv, he argues that cities are key for a sustainable recovery in Europe.

“Cities need direct and rapid access to national and European funding – otherwise we will collapse,” Dario Nardella writes in view of the new EU budget and post COVID-19 recovery fund presented today, Wednesday, by the European Commission. “In exchange, cities have a lot to offer. We can inspire national and European politics to build back better, to create a sustainable recovery.”

You can read the full article here

Dusseldorf – Preparing for the second wave

With a step-by-step approach, the city of Dusseldorf wants to keep coronavirus infection numbers low and prevent a new spread. The daily monitoring will be continued. Should the infection number rise to 30 per 100,000 citizens in seven consecutive days, communication and control of the regulations, like physical distancing and wearing of masks, will be reinforced. From 50 new infections, stronger restrictions can be implemented. You can read more here (in German)

Contact: Stefanie Nietfeld

Dusseldorf – Sport is back (cautiously)

‘Sports in park’, Dusseldorf’s free outdoor gym, has started again. After online only courses during the corona confinement, classes are held outside again since last week, applying to safety measures, like keeping physical distance. Passive sport lovers can enjoy the ‘Bundesliga’, Germany’s football premiere league which is running again, yet with empty stadiums. In order to ensure public safety, the city doesn’t allow outdoor TV streaming in certain areas where it could get crowded. You can read more here (in German).

Contact: Stefanie Nietfeld

Dusseldorf – Summer@home

Since many families and citizens have cancelled travel plans and will most probably spend the summer at home, a new initiative has been presented by the city of Dusseldorf: ‘Summer at home’. Sport, culture and family activities shall form a holiday programme, following the hygiene regulations, presented on a dedicated website. The city has initiated a round table with organisers and is now calling for event offers. You can read more here (in German)

Contact: Stefanie Nietfeld

Dusseldorf – Public offices open again

Foto: Landeshauptstadt Düsseldorf / Michael Gstettenbauer

After having turned down working hours to a minimum during the pandemic, public offices in Dusseldorf are now open again with their usual working hours. In the past weeks, urgently needed documents were delivered via bike couriers. About 4,500 passports and other documents have been brought to the people free of charge that way. You can read more here (in German)

Contact: Stefanie Nietfeld

Vilnius – Empty restaurant seats for fashion mannequins

Restaurants of Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital, are using social distancing rules to become fashion displays for local designers. As of this week, the country has eased the restrictions on bars, cafes and restaurants to allow them to operate indoors, yet strict social distancing remains in place. The indoor restaurant tables that otherwise must be kept empty will therefore be used for mannequins to demonstrate this season’s fashion. You can read more here

Contact: Jurga Pociūtė-Mikūtienė

Milan – Chatbot for corona news

The citizens of Milan can now get the latest news related to COVID-19 via WhatsApp from the municipality, using a chatbot tool developed with Facebook Italia. It follows a similar model from the WHO and is the first testing in a EU city. The chatbot gives information citizens support services during the emergency, reopening activities, public services and worship places, allowed movements of people, traffic and parking, services for citizens with disabilities, how to contribute to the emergency management, health and sanitary measures and regulations.

Contact: Olimpia Vaccarino Aureli

Vienna – Guidelines for safe reopening of the cultural sector

Vienna has drawn up a “Guide for the Cultural Industries” in cooperation with medical experts and cultural practitioners. The rules foreseen in the guidelines could already apply in June. However, in order for them to be implemented and for theatres or concert halls to be able to restart, a federal ordinance or amendment to the law is needed.

Councillor Kaup-Hasler with Marijana Stoisits of the Vienna Film Commission – Copyright: Katharina Schiffl
Continue reading “Vienna – Guidelines for safe reopening of the cultural sector”

Guimarães – Deconfinement

Guimarães is beginning to implement its deconfinement strategy. In the parks, which reopened last week, in addition to walking and running, the practice of sports activities in a non-competitive context is allowed from 19 May, observing the minimum distance of 2 meters between citizens for activities to be carried out side-by-side, or 4 meters for queued activities and also preventing the sharing of materials and equipment.

Continue reading “Guimarães – Deconfinement”

Vienna – Overview of measures for safe and inclusive recovery

Vienna has taken an approach of cautious exit and inclusive recovery as the country is slowly going back to ‘normal’. The updated overview highlights measures with regard to a smooth and safe running of city services, from childcare and schools to health and social services, support for the local economy and unemployed citizens and much more. It also contains a survey that shows that the city’s crisis management was positively received by the population. You can download the document here.

Contact: Michaela Kauer or stay up to date at @Stadt_Wien

Madrid – €7.5 million for culture

Madrid’s ‘Applaud Madrid’ plan will augment the city’s cultural budget, which remains uncut, with at further €7.5 million to avoid the closure of cultural spaces and institutions. Theaters will receive €1.9 million, cinemas €1.2 million, live music venues €1.3 million and theater, dance and circus companies €530,000. These grants will cover the costs of supplies and rent from March to September. All future beneficiaries of these grants must commit themselves not to close these spaces for at least one year after the end of the pandemic.

Continue reading “Madrid – €7.5 million for culture”

Vilnius – Recovery plan allocates €1 million to culture

Vilnius has a plan for recovery, the ‘Vilnius’ Plan 4×3’. The plan includes aid measures focused on aids to: individuals, businesses, and culture. The plan also wants to embrace opportunities, and it lists proposals addressed to the national government that will enable local governments to tackle the effects of the crisis. Culture will be a priority for Vilnius, as the plan allocates around 1 million EUR to the sector. Read more here

Contact: Jurga Pociūtė-Mikūtienė

Budapest – Restart the city

Flexible start times at work and school, to avoid crowded busses and trams. Enhanced possibilities for cycling and walking in the city. Outdoor catering on closed roads for restaurants. – These are some of the proposals of Budapest’s mayor Gergely Karácsony for a gradual reopening of the city. According to him, the easing of the lockdown demands new thinking and deliberate decisions in many fields from both the national government and the municipality. You can download the document here

Contact: Adrienn Magyar

Madrid – Preparing the reopening of terraces

The city council of Madrid is working on conditions to reopen the 5,323 terraces in the Spanish capital as soon as phase 1 of the de-escalation of the corona lockdown allows it. The aim is to make regulations more flexible and to harmonise the interests of hoteliers, shopkeepers and neighbours. The Hotel and Catering Terraces Committee has proposed a set of criteria that will enable the authorised areas to be extended, meeting a triple objective: not eroding the interests of other sectors, not interfering with the movement of pedestrians and at the same time complying with the regulations on universal accessibility. You can read more here (in Spanish)

Contact: Ana Buñuel

Bilbao – 50 ways to fight the crisis

The city council of Bilbao has approved an action plan worth €15 million, to address the urgent needs resulting from the corona pandemic. More than 50 measures, agreed upon by all political parties, deal with economy and employment, social cohesion and culture. The focus is on people and companies, especially small local businesses, hotels and restaurants, tourism and the cultural and creative sector. You can download an English briefing of the plan here and read more here (in Spanish)

Contact: Alazne Zugazaga

Amsterdam – Overview of measures

Amsterdam has published a road map for the easing of its restrictions which includes plans for schools, cafés and restaurants to reopen in the next month and longer term plans for things like gyms and health spas. Meanwhile the city is already enacting a host of other measures to limit the spread such as the creation of a €50 million emergency fund. Read more here

Contact: Julia Robeer

Stuttgart – Working with other German cities

Stuttgart is working on its exit and recovery from lockdown in close step with other German cities through a dedicated forum within the Association of German Cities (Deutscher Städtetag). Through this forum, the city is sharing information such as legal documents and relevant links to updates on the situation in Germany. Read more here

Contact: Claudia Schulcz

Vienna – Gastro vouchers

When restaurant in Vienna opened on 15 May, the Vienna city government decided to support Viennese gastronomy with vouchers of €25 and €50 for food and non-alcoholic beverages for every household. In total, Vienna provided €40 million for this campaign. The campaign runs from June to September. 950,000 Viennese households will receive a voucher by mail, which they can redeem at a participating cafés and restaurants. One-person households will receive a €25 voucher, households with more people a voucher worth €50. More information (in German) here.

Contact: Michaela Kauer or stay up to date at @Stadt_Wien

Bordeaux – Citizen dialogues

Bordeaux is launching two participatory schemes this week: A consultation, which invites residents to put forward ideas for coming out of the crisis and for improvements to local life, and the creation of a Citizens’ Committee, which met for the first time on Tuesday afternoon, 5 May, by video conference with the Mayor of Bordeaux, Nicolas Florian.

Residents can also express their views on the platform debats.bordeaux.fr by putting forward suggestions on five themes: Health, schools, food, mobility and local economy. These contributions are accessible to all and can be voted and/or commented on, prioritised and put forward for wider discussion. They will be catalogued and analysed by the city’s elected representatives and administrative officers, to support decision-making in respect of lifting the lockdown.

Continue reading “Bordeaux – Citizen dialogues”

Guimaraes – Enjoying terraces’ reopening

Guimaraes is reopening food establishments and markets. Terraces will reclaim the public space and establishments that have the licences for terraces will be exempted from paying fees on them. The city will distribute protective equipment to these establishments. More info here (in Spanish)

Contact: Crisalia Alves

Milan – 3,500 more shared electric scooters

As Milan gets ready for the first acceleration of phase two of the lockdown, the city implements the Milan2020 plan for a new, more sustainable city: 3,500 new electric scooters will join the existent 2,250 urban fleet. Five new companies have been authorised to operate in the city for the sharing of electric micro-mobility vehicles, as an alternative for post-lockdown travel: EM Transit, Ride Hive Operations, LMTS Italy, Govolt and Bird Rides Italy, in addition to the companies already present, Wind Mobility, Bit Mobility and Helbiz Italia. You can read more here (in Italian)

Contact: Olimpia Vaccarino Aureli

Milan – Reopening shops and restaurants

Milan moves its first steps towards a new normality with the opening of all its retail activities, as regional governments will be allowed to reopen bars, restaurants, hairdressers, barbers and beauty parlours from 18 May.  On top of the sanitary measures imposed by the regional government, the city implemented ad hoc protocols for the reopening of street food markets: temperature check, 2.5 meter distance from one vendor to the other, limited number of people, sign corridors and restriction to one person per family. You can read more here (in Italian)

Contact: Olimpia Vaccarino Aureli

Cardiff – Re-modelling public space

Extending pavements into the road, creating temporary cycleways, removing street furniture, carrying out a speed awareness campaign and re-designing public space around neighbourhood shopping centres: just some of the ideas being put forward by Cardiff Council as part of the COVID-19 response. With lockdown restrictions expected to be eased next week, a number of pilot schemes have been designed to keep the public safe and able to physically distance in public spaces. You can read more here

Contact: Beverley Watson

Guimaraes – Nursing homes open for visitors again

Old people living in nursing homes in Guimaraes, Portugal, can receive visitors again from next week, following the lockdown due the corona pandemic. The municipality is providing masks and other protective material and has established special regulation. In a first stage, each resident should have only one visitor, once a week, and the visits must not exceed 90 minutes. You can read more here (in Portuguese)

Contact: Crisalia Alves

Budapest – Exploring unknown parks and trails

While parks and hiking trails in and around Budapest are open again after the corona confinement, the city wants to avoid the popular destinations getting too crowded. A new online map is promoting lesser known green spots where people can walk or play sports. You can find the map and read more here

Contact: Adrienn Magyar

Dusseldorf – Reopening culture & arts

Step by step, and with special regulation, museums and other cultural institutions in Dusseldorf, Germany, are opening again after the corona lockdown. The number of visitors is limited and hygiene measures have to be obtained. It is recommended to wear a mask. You can read more here (in German) about the institutions already open and here about the next ones to follow. Also the municipal music school, which went to online lessons during the lockdown, opened its doors again. And the department of culture, in cooperation with local artists, has handed out 600 ‘Art Bags’ with materials and instructions for making crafts and arts to kindergartens and refugee homes.

Contact: Stefanie Nietfeld

Barcelona – City deal against the crisis

Under the ‘Pacte per Barcelona’, the Spanish city has gathered more than 200 organisations to fight the impact of the corona pandemic. This and more is described in an updated version of Barcelona’s ‘Lessons learned’. You can download the document here

Contact: Marta Puchal

Muenster – Free masks on Europe Day

Ahead of Europe Day on 9 May, the city of Muenster, Germany, handed out 5,000 free face masks with the design of the European flag. As part of the gradual easing of corona related restrictions, the masks are to symbolise the solidarity and protection of all Europeans. Markus Lewe, Lord Mayor of Muenster, personally took part in the campaign, as you can see in the video.

Contact: Anna Chevtchenko

Paris – Easing the lockdown

Reopening schools with small groups of pupils, making face masks mandatory in the metro and devoting roads to biking, to prevent an intensive surge in car use – these are some of the steps out of the corona lockdown in Paris. The city has compiled a summary of measures. You can download the document here

Contact: Jean-Yves Camus

Guimarães – Public space for businesses

Guimarães municipality has given exemptions to businesses from fees for the occupation of public space until the end of 2020 and increased areas for the installation of terraces. This is intended to minimize the impact of reducing the capacity of establishments to protect customers from COVID-19. More information (in Portuguese) here.

Contact: geral@cm-guimaraes.pt

Nice – Digital crisis management

The Nice Côte d´Azur Metropolis has developed new digital crisis management tools from which Microsoft will draw inspiration to help other communities for free. In order to deal with the COVID-19 epidemic and the dissemination of masks to the entire population, the Nice has developed digital logistics management tools. Microsoft has praised the quality of work of the engineers of the Metropolis and will use it as inspiration to provide services to other French communities.

Continue reading “Nice – Digital crisis management”

Frankfurt – Support for local businesses

The programme ‘Frankfurt am Start’ (Frankfurt Ready) of the Frankfurt Economic Development GmbH supports the local business in Frankfurt’s city districts. A website gives useful tips on how local business and restaurants in the respective city districts can be supported. Among other things, citizens can find local business who sell / produce protective face masks. You can view the website (in German) here.

Contact: Hendric Fuchs

Guimarães – Face to face service

Guimarães is operating face-to-face service by appointment, within the scope of the recently announced measures for exit and recovery from lockdown, as of today, 11 May. Meetings at the Balcão Único de Atendimento (BUA) at the Guimarães City Council can be scheduled through the municipality website, by phone, by email or on the mobile application “Guimarães CityFy”. More information (in Portuguese) here.

Contact: Carmo Martins

Guimarães – Opening daycare

Guimarães is testing all daycare employees for COVID 19 in preparation for the reopening of daycare centres on 18 May. All employees (teaching and non-teaching staff) will be tested. This covers about 450 employees in 39 institutions, and is taking place within the scope of the Government’s return to normality plan, in conjunction with the Ministry of Social Security. The tests start this Monday, 11 May 11, at the facilities of the Pro-Child headquarters. More information (in Portuguese) here.

Contact: Crisalia Albves

Nice – Health Confidence Label

To support the restart of the local economy, the city of Nice has introduced the ‘Label Confiance Sanitaire’, a health confidence label. Shops and other businesses can use the label to show that they comply with the health safety rules following the corona pandemic. The label is based on a charter of commitment and shall reassure customers that shopping is safe here. You can read more here (in French)

Contact: Jérôme Sieurin

Paris – Survey on cultural reopening

As France begins looks to enact an easing of lockdown measures, the City of Paris has prepared a survey for other cities to complete on plans to restart cultural services, such as the reopening of city libraries: what are the opening conditions, how to borrow and return books. You can find the survey to fill in here.

Contact: Karin Fouledeau

Milan – Easing lockdown

The city of Milan has announced plans for the gradual reopening of public museums, exhibition spaces and libraries under specific sanitary measures. In addition 1,100 police officers are being deployed to oversee that measures are heeded in around 400 newly reopened playgrounds. The city council is also discussing to distribute the remaining monies raised through the city’s Mutual Aid Fund. Read more here

Contact: Olimpia Vaccarino Aureli

Guimaraes – Lockdown end

From this Friday – May 8 – Guimarães gives way to the phase of recovery of economic activity and life in society, after the meeting with the Municipal Civil Protection Commission and with the Presidents of Parish Councils. The measures taken by the Municipality of Guimarães seek to resume the provision of public services in conditions that do not prejudice the containment of the pandemic. Later on, parks and sports facilities, among others, will reopen with 4 metres distance between users. Read more here (in Portuguese)

Contact: Ivone Gonçalves

Glasgow – Innovation-led recovery for our cities

Following the initial Eurocities ‘online city dialogue on responses from cities to the coronavirus outbreak’ in early April, Glasgow and Nantes Métropole as European Commission 2019 Cities of Innovation identified the opportunity for further cooperation through Glasgow’s European Capital of Innovation (iCapital) Alumni Network collaboration platform – iKEN

The iKEN platform is a spin-out programme from the European Commission’s annual iCapital competition which rewards cities who have built the most inclusive and dynamic innovation ecosystems, for the benefit of citizens and businesses. During a time of crisis, the need for innovation has never been greater.

Open to all cities not just iCapitals, Glasgow invites you to Join us at 11amBST / 12pm (CET) on Wednesday 13 May where you get the chance to connect with experts in other iCapital Alumni Network cities and hear first-hand the way some of Europe’s most innovative cities are responding to the COVID-19 crisis.

Register for the event here

Contact: Joe Brady

Tallinn – Exit plan

The city government approved on May 6 the emergency situation exit plan of the city, according to which the easing of the restrictions will start on May 11, first with regard to outdoor activities. On 18 May, restrictions on contact activities outdoors will be lifted and from 1 June, the city will resume services for the elderly. The restrictions will be implemented in multiple stages and follow the criteria recommended by the Health Board as well as the easing decisions of the government. Download the detailed plan here

Contact: Kerttu Märtin

Florence – Park educators

Florence parks are again accessible to families, although in compliance with the still necessary safety standards. Thus, the city of Florence has started a family support project called ‘Pollicino.Zero’ providing educators and volunteers in eight city parks and gardens. The operators will be there to answer the parents’ possible questions and suggest them creative activities to be carried out with their children.

Contact: Alessandra Barbieri

Milan – A new start

To support the gradual reopening of the city after the coronavirus lockdown, the city of Milan has launched the campaign ‘A new start. One step at a time’, inviting citizens to respect the rules in this phase. A video, narrated by the Italian singer Ghali, shows the city of these weeks of isolation and five citizens who are getting ready to leave their homes for a new start. You can read more here

Contact: Olimpia Vaccarino Aureli

Vilnius – Mask Fashion Week

Mask Fashion Week opening ceremony in Vilnius. Photo by Go Vilnius

The streets of Vilnius are currently dotted with giant photos of people wearing protective masks made in creative way. The images are part of a new project called Mask Fashion Week, which drew its inspiration from members of a Facebook group known as Mask Your Fashion. Unlike a traditional fashion week, the project is open to everyone: the city streets have become a runway. While still adhering to safety recommendations, audiences are invited to travel the Mask Fashion Week route through the city by foot or in their cars and reflect on the role and look of the new accessory that has unexpectedly become part of our day-to-day lives. The city’s outdoor advertising stands now feature photos of masked project participants with the slogan ‘Creativity Cannot be Masked’. You can read more here

Reykjavik – Overview of measures

The city of Reykjavik, Iceland, has compiled a summary of measures taken in the coronavirus crisis. The document describes the different phases in response to the pandemic and how “aggressive testing, tracing and quarantining” has slowed the spreading of the virus. Iceland has introduced a tracing app which has been downloaded by one third of the population. Restrictions are eased since beginning of May. You can download the document here

Contact: Hilmar Hildar Magnúsarson

Barcelona – Economic and social recovery

Barcelona’s report looks back at the actions that have proven most effective in tackling the health crisis, and sheds light on how to approach the economic crisis. The City Council is working on defining a new normal that will allow the full development of the city’s economic, commercial, creative and innovative potential. Read the full report here

Contact: Marta Puchal

Vienna – Public pools to open again

Vienna has prepared to open its 38 public indoor and outdoor pools by the end of May after the corona lockdown. Pools will be open for a limited number of customers and with a management system that only allows a certain number of people to swim at the same time. Saunas remain closed. “There is no reason to write off the summer season”, says mayor Michael Ludwig,

Continue reading “Vienna – Public pools to open again”

Bologna – Rethinking museums

Museum of Industrial Heritage of Bologna

The emergency programme for the municipal museums in Bologna due to the corona lockdown is driving a general change, as the city expects. Museums are turning into culture hubs, involving new digital projects into the organic planning of culture and museum activities. The 13 municipal museums, covering archeology, ancient art, modern and contemporary art, music, industrial heritage and technical culture, history and memory, are developing a new digital narrative of the contents of their collections. You can read more here

Contact: Francesca Martinese

Cities after corona – “Build back better”

City life after corona – illustration © Brian Stauffer for Foreign Policy

“Cities will come back stronger than ever after the pandemic”, says Dan Doctoroff, former deputy mayor of New York. “But when they do, it will be driven by a new model of growth.” New policies and technologies, Doctoroff argues in the magazine Foreign Policy, have to “make urban life more affordable and sustainable for more people.” And city expert Janette Sadik-Khan wants to keep some of the advantages we are experiencing during lockdown: “We can bring back cities without bringing back the traffic, the congestion, the pollution.” Foreign Policy has asked 11 urban experts for their predictions of how life in our cities will look after the coronavirus pandemic.

Continue reading “Cities after corona – “Build back better””

Milan – Help for small cultural organisations

The city of Milan is implementing a special plan to make use of extra national funding in support of smaller and more fragile organisations in the performing arts sector which are not covered by the 20 million emergency fund of the Italian Minister of Culture. In preparation for the reopening of museums and libraries, planned from 18 May as part of the ‘phase 2’ post corona lockdown measures, Milan is working on a protocol to ensure special health and safety measures for workers and visitors. You can read more here (in Italian)

Contact: Olimpia Vaccarino Aureli

Dusseldorf – Masks for all

Mayor Thomas Geisel handing out masks © City of Dusseldorf/Melanie Zanin

Since wearing a mask in public transportation and shops is compulsory now, city staff of Dusseldorf and volunteers are distributing masks on different places in the city. For the elderly, 50,000 hygiene kits including masks have been prepared and can be ordered for home delivery. Additional 15,000 masks have been donated for refugees. With online videos, the city shows how to sew your own mask. You can read more here and here (in German)

Contact: Stefanie Nietfeld

Milan – Keeping public transport safe and clean

The public transport company of Milan has set a security plan in accordance with the distancing measures ruled by the Italian Ministry of Health for phase 2 of the Covid-19 emergency. The transport fleet has been widened and every station and transport is constantly sanitized. The number of passengers is controlled, signal pathways help to keep physical distance. You can read more here (in Italian)

Contact: Olimpia Vaccarino Aureli

Budapest – Waiting for you

“Budapest awaits!” is the message of a music and dance video, aimed at city residents and tourists. The film, created by the Budapest Festival and Tourism Center, shows the formerly cheerful and lively, but now empty city, waiting to see life returning to the streets and public spaces.

Budapest has also compiled a summary of measures the city has taken in the corona crisis. You can download the document here

Contact: Adrienn Magyar

Florence – Outdoor gyms in the parks

As one step out of the corona lockdown, the city of Florence is preparing sports trainings in parks, open for all ages and led by certified instructors from sports associations. Participants will have to register in order to control the size of the groups and ensure a safe distance. Other initiatives for ‘phase two’ include the reopening of restaurants and cafés for take-away services. The municipality wants to involve local businesses in virtual dialogues to develop more ideas.

Contact: Alessandra Barbieri

Vilnius – Outdoor cafés

Restaurants and cafés will be able to share the public space without any charge in order to help this sector recover from the crisis. The city council has included this measure among the gradual exit strategy from the lockdown. More than 162 cafés, bars and restaurants have applied to inhabit the city’s public spaces with outdoor seating. Read more here

Contact: Jurga Pociūtė-Mikūtienė

Muenster – City hands out EU face masks

Ahead of Europe Day (9 May), the City of Muenster plans to hand out 5,000 free Europe themed face masks to the public. As part of the gradual easing of Corona related restrictions in everyday public life, the masks are to symbolise the solidarity and protection of all Europeans.

The community of Munster merchants will support the gesture by decorating every building along the Prinzipalm
arkt, Munster’s main city centre street, with EU flags on the day

Contact: Anna Chevtchenko

Cologne – Innovation database

The city of Cologne has created a database of best practices from local companies that have found innovative and creative solutions to deal with the present circumstances. This includes, for example, digital window-shopping or selling vouchers for favourite individual stores or pubs around the corner. Read more here

Contact: Uwe Korch

Reims – Imagining the future

Reims has launched a digital platform to invite people to come up with ideas and solutions to pave the way to the ‘day after’. The city engages itself to implement projects collected on the platform that have been approved by popular vote. Projects can fall under areas such as: economic recovery, health and well-being, living together and support to culture. Read more here (in French)

Contact: Lucie Junet

Nice – Back to school

The mayor of Nice is consulting with the directors of the 154 public schools, parents and parents’ representatives, and with a local scientific council. The consultation aims at finding how to best organise the gradual reopening of schools announced by the government. The city has also created a free tutoring app ‘Prof in the pocket’ to help its students. Read more here (in French)

Contact: Jérôme Sieurin

Vilnius – support to restaurants

Vilnius is supporting restaurants and cafés by offering city spaces as a gift and encouraging the purchase of vouchers. In response to the problems of restaurants and cafés that have been closed during the quarantine during this season, the Vilnius Municipality is opening all public spaces in the city to outdoor cafés. In addition, the project talonai.lt was launched. It will encourage Vilnius residents to support their favourite restaurants by purchasing their services for the future. These measures are expected to help businesses without which the capital would not feel alive to survive.
You can read more here.

Vienna – Overview of measures (updated)

Vienna has compiled a summary of measures the city has taken in the coronavirus crisis. They include the areas health and social care, public services, help for the economy, housing and homelessness, arts and culture, communication and citizen engagement as well as a part on ‘life after the crisis’. You can download the document here.

Contact: Michaela Kauer or stay up to date at @Stadt_Wien

Dusseldorf – Schools partially reopen

On Thursday 23 April Düsseldorf’s schools opened again for those pupils who are graduating this year. With the help of the city, the schools have adapted to strict hygiene and safety measures and have installed disinfectant dispensers and strict rules of conduct. The other classes will come back gradually after 4 May. More information (in German) here.

Meanwhile the distribution of tablets to schoolchildren who do not have their own tablet goes on in order to make sure that pupils are able to use the online learning platform: Every week 1,000 are being distributed; 23,500 tablets should be distributed by August. So far, 50,000 children are using the platform. More information (in German) here.

Contact: Stefanie Nietfeld

Madrid – Hackathon for innovation

A call has gone out to Madrid’s startups and innovative SMEs to offer solutions that will allow for the resumption, as much as possible, of normality. Three challenges for those competing include: facing the economic reality after the pandemic; redefining the concept of cities in the face of the need for new models of interpersonal relationships; and seeking solutions for those groups with special needs or who depend on third parties for the normal development of their lives. Read more here.

Contact: Ana Buñuel

Edinburgh – The tourism side of recovery

Responsible and sustainable tourism remains a priority on the economic response to the pandemic, key actors and the city council agreed. Actions to tackle priority areas will be established in coordination with stakeholders, while the long-term strategy remains crucial for the local economy. New roundtable with the economic agents to define specific measures in the coming weeks. Read more here

Contact: Karen Lloyd

Barcelona – Strategic approach

The Economic Response Coordination Center of the city, headed by the first Deputy Mayor, is leading the way on the economic reaction to the crisis. Divided into budget and reactivation measures, this division will allow for a better understanding of the city’s situation and a enhance the decision-making process. 25 million euros support package and taxes deferral are the first measures put in place by Barcelona’s city council. Read more here

Contact: Marta Puchal