Tackling a global pandemic in Asian megacities

What policy lessons can be drawn from responses to global health shocks build inclusive and resilient cities?

Globally, about 1.6 billion informal workers were impacted by lockdowns, mobility restrictions and other measures taken to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. This proposal will examine COVID-19 policy measures and post-pandemic recovery plans across Southeast and South Asian regions to identify their impacts, gaps and lessons learned in addressing the needs of urban informal workers and in charting pathways to achieve greater resilience against similar shocks in the future. It will undertake an intensive review of relevant policy responses followed by a series of online policy dialogues with key government officials.

This project is part of the Research Studies Association (RSA) Policy Expo Grants Scheme 2021. The expo will unpack how urban poor communities, especially women informal workers, are (or likely to be) affected by these measures by engaging with grassroots organisations, NGOs and community groups. It will focus on three South Asian megacities (Dhaka, Hyderabad and Karachi) and two Southeast Asian megacities (Jakarta and Manila) that have been severely impacted by the pandemic.

Informality and Urban governance in South and Southeast Asian cities

This special issue aims to facilitate a collaborative investigation and debate at the intersection of urban governance and informality in Asian cities, with a specific emphasis on the governance of informal work during and ‘after’ the pandemic. It examines the variability of the impact of policy responses but also highlights urban informal workers’ capacity to bounce back through bottom-up grassroots responses from this global crisis, leading to alternative pathways to addressing future shocks, achieving inclusion, greater resilience and city leadership.

Paper submission due May 31st

Submission portal can be found on the journal Homepage here: https://www.elsevier.com/journals/urban-governance/2664-3286/guide-for-authors

More information

Project team

  • Iderlina Mateo-Babiano, Associate Professor in Urban Planning, University of Melbourne
  • Redento Recio, Informal Urbanism Research Hub (InfUr)
  • Professor Michele Acuto
    Michele Acuto, Centre Director 
  • Kazi Fattah
    Kazi Nazrul Fattah, Visiting Fellow in International Urban Politics
  • Elisa Sutanudjaja, Rujak Center for Urban Studies
  • Ador Torneo, Jesse M. Robredo Institute of Governance, De La Salle University
  • Nausheen Anwar, Karachi Urban Lab (KUL)
  • Noman Ahmed, NED University of Engineering and Technology
  • Anant Maringanti, Hyderabad Urban Lab (HUL)
  • Aalok Khandekar, India Institute of Technology (IIT)
  • Mehnaz Rabbani, BRAC University

Project partners