On April 6, 2021, Dr. Nathan Marom and Ms. Tamar Akov held an online international conference entitled: "Envisioning the post-pandemic metropolis: Learnings and Perspectives from Mumbai & Tel-Aviv”.
The conference was co-hosted by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), one of the most important think-tanks in India, which has also hosted delegations of students from the School of Sustainability in the past.
The conference examined how the two metropolitan cities - Mumbai in India and Tel Aviv (Gush Dan) in Israel - have dealt with the corona pandemic, stressing similarities and differences. It also offered new insights from the experience concerning future challenges for transitioning to a post-pandemic era.
The conference, which gathered researchers and students from both countries, opened with a special session attended by the Ambassador of India to Israel, Mr. Sanjeev Singla, and the Ambassador of Israel to India, Dr. Ron Malka.
The opening session was followed by the keynote lectures of Mr. R.A. Rajeev, Metropolitan Commissioner of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), and Ms. Dalit Zilber, Head of the Israel Planning Administration.
The conference continued with four sessions dealing with a variety of issues related to the impacts of the corona pandemic on urban areas: the use of new technologies to manage health crises, the importance of addressing marginalized social groups (such as slum dwellers in Mumbai and asylum seekers in Tel Aviv), the effects of the pandemic on the built environment and the real estate market, and lessons learnt from the crisis to effectively build urban resilience and deal with the climate crisis.
Among the different speakers at the conference (over half of them women): Manisha Mhaiskar, Principal Secretary for the Environment in the Government of Maharashtra; Yael Cohen Paran, Former Knesset member and leader of the Green Movement; Prof. Amita Bhid from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences; Sharon Melamed, Head of the Social Services Administration in the Tel Aviv Municipality; And Col. Ariel Blitz, Dan District Commander in the Home Front Command, IDF.
Through combined perspectives from both metropolitan areas, the conference sought to chart a path to more sustainable and resilient cities and communities during and after the pandemic. Following the conference, a joint report was published by the IDC School of Sustainability and ORF, allowing us to think with renewed optimism about these two thriving metropolitan areas and the friendly relations that will continue to develop between them.
For the full report