Knowledge and opportunities arising from the effects of the pandemic (I)

Dipl. Math. Klaus Bröhl, CEO Integrated Worlds GmbH

Deserted streets, closed shops and restaurants! Until recently, this was predicted as a horror scenario for many cities. The reason for this was mostly identified as online trade and the changed consumer and leisure behaviour of the people.

Corona shows us that nightmares can come true! Even though the background and causes are of a completely different nature and the situation is overtaking us at breathtaking speed. It is also to be feared that the situation for the cities, especially the inner cities, accelerated by the pandemic, will become even more complicated than it already was.

Cultural institutions are no longer able to fulfil their important public mission, and here too it is to be expected that many of them will not be able to make their important contribution to society, at least in the long term, due to the expected financial problems.

Also the club life, which is so important to Germans, regardless of whether it is sports, culture or social affairs, is down. It also remains to be seen how the mostly non-profit organisations, which often live from the solidarity and income of their members and sponsors, will get out of this complicated situation.

But the current reality, with curfews, closures of retail outlets and restaurants and bans on assembly in public areas to absolutely reduce social contacts, shows us all one thing very clearly.

All of a sudden we miss:

  • social contacts, the personal encounter with other people, friends and relatives, regardless of age and degree of relationship,
  • the city as a meeting place with its public places,
  • local trade, gastronomy and industry with their dynamics for a liveable urban environment with which one can identify,
  • the wide range of cultural activities on offer, from simple cinema visits to museums, opera, ballet, etc.
  • the associations with their sense of community and solidarity, detached from their origins and social status.

Even before the Corona crisis, studies have shown that citizens of all age groups and social strata of the population highly value the importance of the city with its wide range of offers as a central living space and that the desire to identify with “their city”/”their neighbourhood” is strongly anchored.

We, who are involved in digitally supported urban concepts, must meet this wish of the citizens, especially now and in the future.

According to “All power to the citizens” we should understand the current situation as an opportunity, put the needs of the people in the foreground, involve the people, use the willingness to identify and thus support the city with all its diversity holistically with our possibilities.

Let us work together, with the conviction that this dramatic crisis can be overcome, on the concepts that will meet the desire for local encounters and identification in the time that will surely follow the crisis with a synthesis of analog and digital possibilities.

Let us work even more intensively together to make the city a place of experience and a meeting place for all citizens with their different needs and interests.

Integrated Worlds developed “Citizens Connect” solutions based on a citizen-oriented, global and, above all, sustainable strategy.