The city after Cov­id-19: vulnerability and urban governance in Chicago, Toronto, and Johannesburg

Profs Roger Keil, Xuefei Ren, and Philip Harrison

Funding period: 1 March 2022 – 28 February 2023
Type of funding: Other Grants

Partner organisations: York University (Canada), Michigan State University (USA), and University of Witwatersrand (South Africa)
Lead organisers: Profs Roger Keil, Xuefei Ren, and Philip Harrison
Contact: Prof Roger Keil

This research project was funded by a USF Pandemics and Cities grant.

Abstract: This study examines the critical role of municipal institutions and their civil society partners in mobilizing resources to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and improve health and economic equity. The project aims to shore up a gap in the scholarly literature that has emphasized the actions of global institutions and national governments. Focusing on urban regions, we will examine how the pandemic altered or exacerbated existing patterns of vulnerability, how municipal institutions, in conjunction with civil society groups, have alleviated the devastating consequences of the pandemic, and how their interventions evolve after the acute phase of the pandemic passes. Many programs mobilized for COVID-19 equity response represent dramatic transformations in urban governance, in terms of new partnerships being forged between grassroots organizations, citizens, and municipal authorities. We aim to generate a database of policies and programs from the pilot study on Chicago, Toronto, and Johannesburg, and offer explanations on the convergence and divergency of their policy choices. This pilot project will form a basis for the next phase of research on pandemics and urban governance in a more diverse range of cities.