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University of Manchester | Blog: Overcrowding, not density, makes cities more vulnerable to Covid-19

Recently published blog by Professor Diana Mitlin, CEO of the African Cities Research Consortium

Covid-19 has brought a new realization to many governments and development agencies: investment in towns and cities is essential. People need to live in healthy neighbourhoods with access to basic services. In this context, some have argued that an essential response to Covid-19 is the ‘de-densification’ of urban areas.

This response is based on a misconception. The problem isn’t density itself; it is the overcrowding resulting from low-incomes, expensive housing and the lack of infrastructure and services – and this is caused by state neglect. The lowest income urban residents are facing a global health crisis. The risks associated with Covid-19 are exacerbated by debilitated – or outright non-existent – health services and infrastructures.

It is therefore critical that appropriate learning takes place so that interventions can be successfully designed.

Read the full blog here!