As cities around the world emerge fully from the pandemic, they are faced with ever more complex urban challenges such as the growing impact of climate change, ageing societies, supply chain disruptions and economic uncertainty. These issues are exacerbated by conflict and geopolitical tensions, with each issue revealing itself to be more cross-cutting than previously anticipated. Given their longer-term implications, apart from the need to be agile in our interventions, cities must also secure the commitment, expertise and investments from stakeholders to develop sustained and integrated solutions. It is in this context that our latest edition of Urban Solutions spotlights the role of action-oriented partnerships in helping cities become more resilient against emerging issues.
We need effective urban partnerships now more than ever, and leadership for our cities is key. As cities operate in an increasingly VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) environment, more difficult trade-offs will have to be made, and conditions for more effective partnerships to flourish will have to be catered for by city leaders.
We need strong use cases for urban partnerships to enable urban governance reforms, create integrated solutions and build capacity. Through innovative and bankable projects, financial and technical resources can be pooled and redistributed for better results. Informal partnerships at the grassroots level are equally important as they help to plug the gaps in our neighbourhood-based care environment and promote social inclusivity.
We need to design for action-oriented partnerships. To create sustained and meaningful value in the partnering process and to scale up solutions, we must build empathy, leverage one another’s strengths and experiences, and ensure clarity of roles and outcomes. Having the right partners is therefore essential to project implementation success.
Cities are at a crossroads today with multiple pathways ahead. With more complex choices to be made, we must be able to build partnerships that can mobilise resources, facilitate knowledge sharing and secure longer term commitment to action. I hope this issue of Urban Solutions prompts and provokes good reflections on the role of partnerships for cities and their way forward.
Centre for Liveable Cities