Community responses to covid-19

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Revision as of 14:43, 27 March 2020 by Duncan Crowley (talk | contribs)


The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a new virus. The disease causes respiratory illness (like the flu) with symptoms such as a cough, fever, and in more severe cases, difficulty breathing. The outbreak was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei, China, in December 2019, and was recognized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 11 March 2020.[1] Since February 2020 the problem worsened in Europe and on March 13th the WHO declared Europe the new epicentre of the pandemic.[2] Quickly states of emergency were declared and European cities, regions and countries began to go into lockdown. Especially hit was firstly Italy[3], where its death toll was likened to a war,[4] then Spain, [5] where 514 people died on a single day from the virus.[6] Daily statistics of confirmed Cases and Deaths by Country, Territory, or Conveyance are available on Worldometer.[7] As the situation worsens, more communities are beginning to beginning to self organise, support each other, understand what can be done to alleviate the impact of the virus, thereby "flattening the curve"[8], so as emergency services are not pushed beyond their capacity and can best respond to those that need assistance. Arising from this new reality, UrbanA partners began to identify helpful resources to assist themselves and their wider Community of practice. Many solutions were identified in responses to George Monbiot[9]'s tweet[10] from March 26th:

Advice please.
I'm looking for the best examples of citizens' initiatives on the Covid19 crisis, pre-empting government action, from around the world. 
In other words, people working together to contain the  pandemic and support each other through it.  
Thank you in advance.

Many of the solutions are crowdsourced and rely on citizen participation to quickly grow. Without any prior experience, people can assist at whatever level they feel is appropriate. The Coronavirus Tech Handbook group are seeking translators.[11]

Community responses to COVID-19


  • Coronavirus Tech Handbook[12]

A crowdsourced library for technologists, civic organizations, public and private institutions, researchers, educators and specialists of all kinds to collaborate on an agile and sophisticated response to the coronavirus outbreak and sequential impacts. It is a rapidly evolving resource with thousands of active expert contributors. In 8 languages.

  • #AloneTogether Handbook: Regenerative Resources in a Time of Coronavirus[13]

The UK Extinction Rebellion (XR) community[14] have been evolving and developing resources and tools to help navigate the climate and ecological emergency which are of deep relevance as we face this planetary health crisis. The handbook has been created to offer communities support in building resilience to the crises, staying connected with each other.

COVID-19 Live updates

  • European cities respond to the coronavirus crisis / EUROCITIES
  • Available for everyone, funded by readers / The Guardian

Advice for dealing with crisis

  1. Play the long game. Your peers who are trying to work as normal right now are going to burn out fast. They're doomed. Make a plan with a longer vision.
  2. Your top priority is to stabilize and control your immediate home environment. Ensure your pantry has sensible supplies. Clean your house. Make a coordinated family plan. Feeling secure about your own emergency preparedness will free up mental space.
  3. Any work that can be simplified, minimized, and flushed: FLUSH IT. Don't design a fancy new online course. It will suck & you will burn out. Choose the simplest solution for you & your students, with min admin. Focus on getting students feeling empowered & engaged.
  4. Give yourself a proper mental adjustment window. The first few days in a disaster zone are always a write-off. But if you give yourself that essential window, your body and mind WILL adjust to the new normal. Without that mental shift, you'll fall on your face.
  5. AFTER you experience the mental shift, build a schedule. Make a routine. Put it on a weekly calendar with time blocks. Wake up early. Put the most important parts first: food, family, fitness. Priority 1 is a stable home. Then add windows for achievable work goals.
  6. Cooperate with your brain. For me, I need to ease into heavy-duty academic writing. So I do admin in the morning, and then dip my toe into papers and book projects around noon. Tick off accomplishments, no matter how small. Trust and support your mental shift.
  7. It's unreasonable to demand your body & brain do the same things under higher stress conditions. Some people can write in a war zone. I cannot. I wait until I get back. But I can do other really useful things under high stress conditions. Support your continuing mental shift.
  8. This phenomenon should change how we understand the world. So let this distract you from your work. Because the world is supposed to be our work. May this crisis dismantle all our faulty assumptions and force us into new terrain.
  9. And finally, we can check on our neighbours, reach out to isolated people, and volunteer or donate as we can. Because at the end of the day, our papers can wait.

Advice For kids and family

Coming soon..


Online events

A major consequence of the virus is that while people are under self isolation, groups are having to use online communication tools for conferences, music festivals, family calls, quizzes, choral singing... For many, this is experimental territory, much learning by praxis. Urban Future identify various online tools[15], ECOLISE's Nenad explains the details of "Blended Arenas"[16] (which is a core of the UrbanA process) and DRIFT[17] share 7 social innovation insights insights for the art of connecting online (for online team meetings of 5-30 people):

  1. Be fully present.
  2. Treat it like a face to face meeting.
  3. Check-in & check-out.
  4. Share responsibilities.
  5. Share your screen/ slides/ notes.
  6. Be flexible and trust human creativity.
  7. Go offline.

Here is a list of upcoming and past online streamed events and conferences. After the stream, an archive is normally kept at the same link. Events ordered by date.

  • 1st UrbanA online Community Conversation, 7 April 15h-16h30 CET. UrbanA Fellow João Dinis: Accelerating Urban Transition Division, Cascais Ambiente, Portugal / UrbanA
  • Covid-19 Special Online Workshop: Regenerative Community Design – Responding to the Planetary Emergency. 27-29 March / Global Ecovillage Network
  • Fridays4future #TalksForFuture #1: 27 March 2020, 14h GMT: Greta Thunberg, Naomi Klein + WHO climate change & health leader Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum / Fridays4future video Fridays4future Tweet
  • Coronavirus Capitalism — and How to Beat It. Naomi Klein, Astra Taylor, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor. Thursday, March 26, 2020 21h GMT. / video haymarket booksRelated Article
  • #UrbanLunchTalks, Mar 20: Urban Dilemmas + Governance / JPIUrbanEurope
  • Cooperative City special event: Collaborative and solidarity practices in European cities during COVID-19 outbreak. Friday 20.03.2020 at 17:00 CET / Video

Tek solutions

Coming soon..

Community solutions

Coming soon..

Blogs and other analysis

  • Resources for civil society in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic[18]. From CIVICUS, a global alliance of civil society organisations and activists dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society throughout the world.
Defending civil society, democratic rights, and our fundamental freedoms can be challenging, let alone having to do it while under “lockdown” practicing social distancing in the midst of a global health crisis spreading rapidly across the world. In times like these, solidarity and social compassion play the most important role. To help connect and inform the alliance and civil society during this time, we will be collecting information, resources, and support to share.

Blogs posts

Selected Media Articles


  1. WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 11 March 2020". World Health Organization. 11 March 2020.
  2. Europe 'now epicentre of coronavirus pandemic'. BBC News. 13 March 2020.
  3. What towns in Italy are on lockdown because of coronavirus? Metro, 25 February 2020.
  4. 'This is like a war': view from Italy's coronavirus frontline. The Guardian, 17 Mar 2020.
  5. Coronavirus: Spain declares state of emergency. Irish Times. March 14, 2020.
  6. Coronavirus death toll in Spain overtakes China. The Guardian, 25 Mar 2020.
  7. Worldometer: Confirmed Cases and Deaths by Country, Territory, or Conveyance of the Coronavirus
  8. Covid-19 outbreak: what do health experts mean by 'flattening the curve'? The Guardian. 10 Mar 2020.
  9. Monbiot, George. Covid-19 is nature's wake-up call to complacent civilisation. Wed 25 Mar 2020
  10. George Monbiot: I'm looking for the best examples of citizens' initiatives on the Covid19 crisis
  11. Coronavirus Tech Handbook - translation
  12. Coronavirus Tech Handbook
  13. Extinction Rebellion UK (XR). #AloneTogether Handbook: Regenerative Resources in a Time of Coronavirus. Accesssed March 26 2020
  14. Extinction Rebellion UK
  15. Urban-Future: Our favourite online communication tools. 23. March 2020.
  16. Maljković, Nenad. ECOLISE Remote-ready. For a blended event, BYOD. Nov 12, 2019.
  17. DRIFT (The Dutch Research Institute For Transitions): The art of connecting online: 7 social innovation insights
  18. Resources for civil society in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. CIVICUS