Post sponsored by

MIL OSI Translation. Region: Germany / Deutschland –

Source: Koerber Foundation Again, the corona pandemic has our cities and municipalities firmly under control. The risk of infection for older people is increasing, and many older citizens are once again suffering from isolation. The Körber Demography Symposium on November 4th and 5th dealt with the question of what local authorities can do for their older residents in the Corona crisis. How important is the local level in the fight against the pandemic?

The municipalities have so far proven their worth in the pandemic. They managed the first phase innovatively and in many places created pragmatic solutions for the information, care and social integration of their elderly residents. Their capital, from which they can continue to draw, are local ecosystems: communication and cooperation in manageable areas, established structures and networks. And what also helps is a leadership culture that encourages innovation and creative people. This is reflected in the results of a qualitative survey by the Körber Foundation and the Berlin Institute for Population and Development, which was presented at the Körber Demography Symposium on November 4th and 5th. The two scientists responsible for the survey at the Berlin Institute, Manuel Slupina and Adrián Carrasco Heiermann, not only praise the innovative strength of the municipalities during the first Corona wave, but also the underlying principle of subsidiarity, the responsibility of the smallest political unit: »The longer The pandemic continues, the more the supposed weakness of the ›small-scale‹ in German federalism turns out to be a strength and emergency measures from above are not sufficient to master the Covid pandemic globally: “It’s all about trust” – only by trusting the measures and the people behind them could people be convinced to abide by the rules of the game and to protect themselves and others . And this trust in crisis management can only come about on site, “only through local leadership”. David Nabbaro called out to the 180 or so participants in the demography symposium: “We have to learn to live with the presence of Covid 19 for longer – and still we have to live.” especially in the communal cosmos. “The creative minds are in the municipalities and cities” In an interview, three local authorities make it clear that cities and municipalities act decisively. Susanne Jungkunz, Head of Strategic Social Planning for the City of Oldenburg in Oldenburg, praises how agile the administration was able to adapt to the pandemic and how they reacted from different perspectives, but always cooperatively: »The Corona transformation triggered so much. We can’t go back after that. «Franz Stahl, long-time mayor of the town of Tirschenreuth in Upper Palatinate, also sees the municipalities as pioneers in cooperation with civil society. “The creative minds are in the municipalities and cities.” Ferid Giebler, Mayor of Muldestausee in Saxony-Anhalt, formed a small creative circle with his employees during the Corona crisis. Where necessary, “the administration can sometimes be quickly restructured.” The municipalities are efficient: “You can prove yourself in a crisis.” With the courage to innovate, the crisis can advance the municipalitiesThe crisis as an opportunity for municipalities? The architecture historian and FAZ author Niklas Maak sees it that way. Corona relentlessly exposes the weaknesses of urban planning and urban development policy: Now that people are lonely at home, it is becoming apparent: “We are building past 80 percent of the population”; alternative forms of living were almost ignored. He encourages local managers not to leave the structural future of the cities to the construction companies, but rather to develop “collective living rooms” in urban space with the courage to innovate and to focus on meeting opportunities, family and age-friendliness when building housing. Living for the elderly has been geared towards hospital construction for long enough – no answer for the “rock’n-roll generation” who want to live independently even in old age. Robotics researcher Sami Haddadin from the Technical University of Munich looked even further into the future : In cooperation with the city of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, he is testing the use of care robots for independent living in old age. From the perspective of his discipline, »geriatrics«, the corona crisis can become a driver of innovation: Now is the time to initiate a new phase in digitization. After the digitization of information, artificial intelligence and robotics can now also digitize human skills. A pioneer for digitization from which everyone should benefit is Valerie Mocker, who for many years was program director at the British innovation fund NESTA, now a freelance speaker and tech-for- Good investor in Oxford. The municipal decision-makers encourage them to continue to be so daring and courageous in their work for the age-friendly city: “The time for innovations is now.” Age-friendliness also means: seeing age differently The sociologist Silke van Dyk recommends that all local demography officers protect people from the virus or care for them in isolation. It remains important to differentiate between age. The life phase between 60 and 100 is not homogeneous. And if age is stamped across the board as a risk group in the pandemic, then it conceals, on the one hand, that Corona is not a disease of old age, and, on the other hand, that Corona affects socially weaker older people much more severely.

The 11th Körber Demography Symposium was titled “Disruption and Innovation. How Corona is Changing the Age-Friendly City” and, for the first time, was only held digitally due to the corona. You can find the program and recordings here. The 24-page brochure »Municipal Innovation. Age-friendliness in times of the corona pandemic “appeared in the” Spotlight Demography “series. It can be ordered here free of charge.


EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.

MIL Translation OSI