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Cities Under COVID-19: A Systems Perspective

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  • © 2023


  • Presents a unique collection of different cities’ experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Demonstrates locally specific knowledge of how cities responded to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Takes a systems perspective to reflect on how cities were hubs of transmission

Part of the book series: Urban Health and Wellbeing (UHWSA)

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About this book

The 15 international authors of this book live in Brazil, Canada, Cameroon, China, Cuba, European Union, Finland, Gaza Strip, India, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom and the United States of America. The authors are linked to the International Science Council’s Urban Health and Wellbeing Programme. 

In this book the authors analyse the management of COVID-19, which started in late 2019, in their cities. They explain their city’s political, social and economic context, the dynamics of how the pandemic unfolded, drawing on quantitative and visual data, and their reflections on how it was managed. The book concludes with an analysis of the similarities and differences among COVID-19 outcomes in these cities. Using a systems perspective to learn from these experiences can help all cities to improve the governance of pandemics and be better prepared for likely future ones.


Table of contents (17 chapters)

Editors and Affiliations

  • Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand

    Philippa Howden-Chapman

  • Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xiamen, China

    Franz Wilhelm Gatzweiler

  • Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK

    Rachel Cooper

  • Department of Geography and Environment, Western University, London, Canada

    Isaac Luginaah

About the editors

Philippa Howden-Chapman, a sesquicentennial distinguished professor of public health at the University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand, is a co-director of He Kāinga Oranga/ Housing and Health Research Programme and the director of the NZ Centre for Sustainable Cities. She conducts randomized community housing trials in partnership with local communities, which have had a major influence on housing, urban policy and health. Her work focuses on reducing inequalities in the determinants of health and wellbeing. She is a director on the board of the Crown Entity Kāinga Ora-homes and communities, a fellow of the Royal Society of NZ and a chair of the International Science Council Committee, Urban Health and Wellbeing: a systems approach. She has received numerous awards, including the Prime Minister’s Science Team Prize and the Royal Society of NZ Rutherford Medal. She was awarded a Queen’s Service Order and a Companion of the NZ Order of Merit for contributions to public health.

Franz Wilhelm Gatzweiler is a professor at the Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the executive director of the International Science Council’s global interdisciplinary science programme on ‘Urban Health and Wellbeing: a Systems Approach’. He studied agricultural and institutional economics at the University of Bonn and the Humboldt University of Berlin in Germany. His research focus was on the ‘Economic Value of Nature and the Nature of Economic Value’. He has been a coordinating chapter lead author for UNEP’s report on the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity and recently UNDRR’s next Global Assessment Report on Governance of Systemic Risks. He is a senior fellow at the Centre for Development Research, University of Bonn, and an external affiliated faculty of the Ostrom Workshop, Indiana University. He received his habilitation from Humboldt University in the field of resource economics. His current research interests focus on the governance of complex systems and systemic risks.

Rachel Cooper is a distinguished professor of Design Management and Policy at Lancaster University. She is a founding director of ImaginationLancaster, an open and exploratory design-led research centre conducting applied and theoretical research into people, products, places and their interactions. Her research interests cover: design thinking; design management; design policy; and across all sectors of industry, a specific interest in design for wellbeing and socially responsible design.  She was a lead expert for the UK Government Foresight programme on the Future of Cities (2013-2016), was on the UK  Academy of Medical Sciences Working group addressing ‘The Health of the Public 2040’ (2015-16) and is a chair of the UK Prevention Research Partnership, Scientific  Advisory Board. She is currently a president of the Design Research Society.

Isaac Luginaah is a distinguished university professor in the Department of Geography and Environment, Western University. He was a Canada research chair in Health/Medical Geography (2007-2017). Dr. Luginaah exhibits high standards of excellence and disciplinary engagement that makes him an internationally renowned, prize winning researcher and teacher, whose work has been highly recognized. He is a member of the International Science Council Scientific Committee on Urban Health and Wellbeing. His contributions to the fields of environment and health have been recognized with several prizes and awards including from the Royal Society of Canada (College Member), Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Cities Under COVID-19: A Systems Perspective

  • Editors: Philippa Howden-Chapman, Franz Wilhelm Gatzweiler, Rachel Cooper, Isaac Luginaah

  • Series Title: Urban Health and Wellbeing

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Singapore

  • eBook Packages: Earth and Environmental Science, Earth and Environmental Science (R0)

  • Copyright Information: Zhejiang University Press 2023

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-981-19-8162-3Published: 01 September 2023

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-981-19-8165-4Due: 14 September 2024

  • eBook ISBN: 978-981-19-8163-0Published: 31 August 2023

  • Series ISSN: 2510-3490

  • Series E-ISSN: 2510-3504

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XVI, 273

  • Number of Illustrations: 14 b/w illustrations, 71 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Environmental Health, Public Health, Medicine/Public Health, general

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