LSE Cities, UCLG and Metropolis to monitor impact of COVID-19 on city and regional governance

05 June 2020

LSE Cities, UCLG and Metropolis co-launch “Emergency Governance for Cities and Regions” – a new initiative investigating the urban and regional governance implications of rapid and radical action in response to global emergencies

LSE Cities at the London School of Economics and Political Science is joining forces with United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and the World Association of the Major Metropolises (Metropolis) to analyse the impact of the global health crisis and recovery process on the governance of our cities and territories. Learnings from the current situation will inform a broader understanding of the institutional capacities of cities and regions when responding to global emergencies.

Local and regional governments around the world are working on the front line of public service provision and social cohesion during the global crisis, with the urban commons at the heart of the response.

But there is evidence that even empowered local leadership and strong multilevel governance systems are not able to effectively respond to the new global reality. There are grave concerns about safeguarding local democracy, protecting human rights, the sustainability of public services and the risk of widening the already existing gender gap. Equally, ecological emergencies require strong consideration while overcoming the COVID-19 crisis. At a moment when governments at all levels need to play a significant role, it is critical to develop new competences, capable institutions and coordination.

In response to this challenging context,the joint initiativeEmergency Governance for Cities and Regions aims to gather insights on how to build capacities to address urban/territorial responses to complex emergencies and for governing grand challenges.

Global Climate Strike, New York, 24 May 2019 | © Pacific Press/Getty Images

 As a partnership between communities of practice and academia, the initiative will provide local and regional government networks with the tools to facilitate enhanced knowledge exchange on emergency governance. It builds on the partners’ leadership and collaboration as part of the United Nations Habitat III Urban Governance Policy Unit; the online platform ‘How Cities are Governed’ and the Metropolitan Indicators database. It will also build on the Cities for Global Health and the #BeyondTheOutbreak initiatives developed by UCLG and Metropolis, including the USE Platform and Global Observatories. 

Starting in June 2020 and with frequent publications of findings and insights, an Emergency Transitions Monitor will collect and analyse data on how cities and regions are transitioning in and out of emergency modes.

The initiative will also monitor to what extent crisis response experiments may become fixtures of post-crisis governance.

A final report to be published in 2022 will summarize the most relevant insights, knowledge and evidence on emergency governance at the subnational level.


Read Analytics Note #01: COVID-19 Monitors of relevance to urban and regional governance

For further information about the project please contact Rebecca Flynn, Project coordinator (