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