COVID-19 shocked cities around the world and revealed the vulnerability of urban lives and functions. Most cities experienced a catastrophic disturbance that has lasted for a long time. Planning plays a critical role in responding efficiently to this crisis and enabling rapid functional recovery in the post-disaster era. Cities that have implemented digitalization initiatives and programs are likely to have more capacity to react appropriately. Specifically, digitalized cities could ensure the well-being of their residents and maintain continuity of urban functions. This research aims to analyze the role of technology in crisis management in the last two decades and provide appropriate policy recommendations for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Systematic literature review and subjective content analysis are employed to investigate the effects of technology on community well-being and making cities more resilient in past crises. This study shows that different technology-driven policies and actions enable crisis management, enhance community well-being, and increase urban resilience. Technology has enhanced coping and recovery capacities by increasing participation and social connectedness, enhancing physical and mental health and maintaining the functionality of education and economic systems. These have been achieved through various solutions and technologies such as social media, telehealth, tracking and monitoring systems, sensors and locational applications, teleworking systems, etc. These solutions and technologies have also been used during the COVID-19 pandemic to enhance community well-being and sustain urban functions. However, technology deployment might have adverse effects such as social exclusion, digital divide, privacy and confidentiality violation, political bias and misinformation dissemination, and inefficient remote working and education. It is suggested that to mitigate these side effects, policymakers should liberate the process of digitalization, increase the accessibility to digital services, and enhance digital literacy.
Is the compact city more likely to materialize if development is guided by the “invisible hand” of the market or the government’s “iron fist”? This article explores this question in the context of Shiraz, a medium-sized, medium-density city in south-central Iran. Through a series of longitudinal analyses, we examine the roles of the market and planning along thirty years, from the mid-1980s through the mid-2010s. The study reveals that since the mid-2000s, market forces have superseded government planning in guiding urban development in Shiraz. The government has reduced its interventions in the market: it no longer issues public land for housing development. Combined with natural constraints and sociodemographic pressures, this new planning/market balance has produced a denser and more compact city than ever before. Shiraz has been transformed from a city of villas, nightingales, and gardens into one dominated by mid- and high-rise apartment towers. The direction and intensity of development have not followed the recommendations of local planners and plans. Rather, they have been driven primarily by developers and residents. Regardless, density and compactness are generally positive—as long as housing and infrastructure quality are sustained, and residents have good access to parks, open spaces, and natural sunlight.
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