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RSPP Call for Papers | Special Issue on Covid-19 and Cities: Is it merely a short-term crisis or has it changed our cities forever?

Call for papers for RSPP Special Issue on

“Covid-19 and Cities: Is it merely a short-term crisis or has it changed our cities forever?”.

The aim of  Regional Science Policy & Practice - RSPP is to promote and diffuse the understanding of human interaction in space; based on sound, rigorous and up-to-date methodologies; and focusing on real and urgent issues for peoples and places, that require adequate policy responses.

Covid-19 started off as a small local epidemic in early 2020 but became so widespread globally that the WHO declared it as a pandemic in March 2020. Covid-19 spreads fast with increased density of people, so understandably cities have been the most affected due to the crisis everywhere. While a lot of research is ongoing on various effects of the pandemic, what is less addressed is the fact whether the effects of Covid-19 are short run or long lasting. For instance, Covid-19 led to lockdowns in many cities of the world including Mumbai, Delhi, Manila, Shanghai, Sydney. In April 2020, a Barclays report estimated that “the absolute economic loss was likely the largest from the shutdown of Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Delhi and Mumbai, ranging from $1 billion-$1.7 billion per week.”

It is not just the economy of these cities that have been adversely impacted, but also livelihood and food security for many migrants in these cities. In some cities, migrants lost their jobs and were food starved. They had no means of transport, so they walked to their hometowns. In contrast, reports are that housing became more affordable during the pandemic in the central parts of cities as it reduced the need for accessing employment there. But Covid-19 may also have led to significant suburbanization and sprawl as many working populations moved to cheaper locations while keeping their jobs in the central part of cities. There is some evidence that Covid-19 led to work from home (WFH) and work from anywhere (WFA) for the skilled labour force, but the unskilled were the ones to be the worst affected as their jobs (cooking, driving, domestic help, construction, and so on) cannot be done from home. Some research also finds that the pandemic pushed the urban poor further into poverty.

In other cities, Covid exposed the poor state of health care infrastructure there. City governments everywhere have had to battle challenges to take on additional responsibilities to cope with the pandemic—including testing, contact tracing, and monitoring. Due to the need for distancing, Covid-19 and the consequent lockdowns have also accelerated the growth of gig work, exemplified by food delivery, e-commerce, and even at-home beauty services.

This call aims to mobilize publications that analyse the effect that Covid-19 has had on various aspects of the urban economy: urban poverty, informal sector and unskilled and skilled labour force, housing, and the gig economy. Below are the questions the one-day conference proposes to answer:

  1. What is the effect of Covid-19 on the urban economy and job opportunities?
  2. How has Covid-19 impacted the urban workforce in general?
  3. How have the marginalized and vulnerable been affected due to Covid-19?
  4. Are the recoveries/deaths due to Covid-19 dependent on the robustness of healthcare infrastructure in cities?
  5. What are the effects of Covid-19 on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure in cities?
  6. Has the pandemic made housing more affordable in urban areas?
  7. Due to Work from Home (WFH) and Work from Anywhere (WFA), has the pandemic made the urban environment more sustainable at all?
  8. What are the ongoing policy responses of city governments to Covid and related challenges?
  9. Are there any best practices from which city governments can learn regarding the management of future pandemics?
  10. What is the effect of Covid-19 on the gig economy and on-demand labour?
  11. Are these phenomena temporary or have they changed the landscape of our cities for good?

We welcome original, unpublished papers that address the above questions, or any other research questions not mentioned, as they relate to the effect of Covid-19 on cities. We look forward to papers from all parts of the world. Only very high-quality papers will be chosen to be presented at the conference. We are in advanced negotiations with an international journal to publish selected papers.

Submission Guidelines: Interested Authors should submit their paper to the Special Issue “Covid-19 and Cities” until 31 March 2023 to . Early submissions are encouraged and will be processed immediately. Papers will undergo the normal refereeing process. The papers will be publish once accepted and compiled when there are enough papers to be compiled in a special issue.

Guest Editors

Sumona Banerjee This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Kala Seetharam Sridhar This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Read 1630 times Last modified on Wednesday, 11 January 2023 10:36

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The Regional Science Association International (RSAI), founded in 1954, is an international community of scholars interested in the regional impacts of national or global processes of economic and social change.

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