Some have claimed that dense urban areas are exacerbating the COVID-19 pandemic by their very nature. But this week, a group of mayors from some of the world’s largest metropolitan centers are arguing that cities themselves can lead a transformative post-pandemic recovery — one that will make cities better places to live for all their residents.

On Wednesday, the Global Mayors COVID-19 Recovery Task Force, a group of dozens of leaders of major cities on nearly every continent, announced a proposal for a “green and just recovery” from the pandemic. The proposal calls for substantial investments in affordable housing and public transportation, the permanent banning of cars from many city streets, the end of public investment in and subsidies for fossil fuels, and an embrace of the “15-minute city” paradigm.

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