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Smart sustainable cities and smart digital solutions for urban resilience in the Arab region: Lessons from the pandemic

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February 2022

This technical paper was developed within the framework of the work of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) on Sustainable Urban Development, particularly on Smart, Safe and Resilient Cities in the Arab Region. It adopts the United Nations definition of urban resilience as “the measurable ability of any urban system, with its inhabitants, to maintain continuity through all shocks and stresses, while positively adapting and transforming toward sustainability”.

This paper focuses on urban economic resilience of cities as one of the four main dimensions of urban resilience, which are the economic, social, environmental, and institutional. It aims at capturing the best practices in the Arab region in tackling the socioeconomic challenges of the pandemic, as well as its impacts on Arab cities and possible opportunities for building back better. In addition, the paper explores the smart digital solutions that could help achieve both resilience and inclusion during pandemics and highlights how such solutions would assist in reducing existing vulnerabilities in Arab cities, while maintaining and improving local resilience.