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The Manchester Briefing on COVID-19 issue 39: Planning for recovery from COVID-19

The project team from Alliance MBS and the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute that produces the Manchester Briefing has taken another step towards its goal of writing the international standard on recovery and renewal in the wake of the pandemic.

Last week an international ballot voted to accept and publish its international standard ‘ISO/TS 22393 - Guidelines for planning Recovery and Renewal’ which provides a framework for how to assess the impacts of COVID-19 on communities, and address these by planning recovery activities and renewal initiatives.

Work on ISO/TS 22393 began in March 2020 in the early months of the pandemic when the team began to identify global lessons on recovery, conducting interviews with experts in risk, resilience and recovery.

On hearing of its work, the International Standards Organisation invited the team to write a set of principles and approaches to develop the international standard, and established a committee around the standard involving a range of countries to help further internationalise the good practices contained in the document.

In England a large number of Local Resilience Forums have since adopted the Recovery and Renewal agenda, and the team has also received interest from many more countries that want to learn about how they can recover and renew by applying the guidelines.

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Community resilience

Meanwhile, the latest issue of the Briefing, which brings together international lessons for local and national government recovery and renewal, considers how COVID-19 has changed people’s future priorities for their communities.

For instance, in the UK the National Lottery Community Fund Community Research Project investigated how people’s attitudes towards their communities has changed during the pandemic and identified future priorities.

Their report demonstrates the opportunity to foster the community resilience shown during the pandemic, and also identifies how tackling loneliness and supporting economic growth are the most important factors for community wellbeing in the next year.

Most respondents in their survey also felt that the crisis brought out the best in people. This was particularly felt by older generations, with a third of respondents reporting that they now feel more connected to, and supported by, their local community.

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Remaking cities

This week’s Briefing also reports on how COVID-19 has seen cities and local areas rapidly change how public spaces are used in an effort to improve the daily lives and wellbeing of communities.

It specifically looks at the example of Sydney and how temporary measures that can transition to permanent design is now a key renewal strategy for the city.

For instance, a report says there is a need to create “a city for all” which involves providing welcome spaces, increased facilities for children, closing streets off to traffic at lunchtime, expanding the use of community buildings, and ensuring free wi-fi across the city to make public spaces more attractive for people of all ages.

It also talks about the need to transform traffic-dominated streets to people-friendly streets, capitalise on the metro, train and light rail infrastructure as the most efficient modes of transport for people, increase walking space and pathways across the city, and improve the connection of cycle networks to other transport networks to promote cycling.

Download this week's Manchester Briefing on COVID-19 (issue 39)

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