Windsor chosen to discuss post-COVID recovery lessons

The city of Windsor has been chosen to host virtual discussions with the Canadian Urban Institute as part of the national CUI x Local program.

The Canadian Urban Institute will host its next CUI x Local in Windsor from June 15 - 17

The city of Windsor will host a series of virtual discussions with CUI x Local in June. (Darrin Di Carlo/CBC)

The city of Windsor will soon be a part of a series of digital conversations, speaking with community leaders about issues faced during and after the pandemic.

The Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) has been holding virtual talks across Canada. While in Windsor, the CUI x Local will speak about the recent challenges, issues and accomplishments of Windsor residents, then discuss pathways to apply the lessons in other parts of the country.

"Windsor is a pivotal, Canadian city because of all these unique attributes and I think post-Covid, it's going to be interesting to see how all mid-size cities fare," said Mary Rowe, President and CEO of CUI. 

The CUI is a charitable organization that works with city and community leaders across the country to offer programs and initiatives that further the development of Canadian cities.

The City of Windsor, University of Windsor and Windsor Law Centre for Cities are some of CUI's collaborators for the upcoming events. 

"We know our community is hungry for the insights and innovations that will help Windsor reach its full potential in the months and years ahead," said Jason Reynar, Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Windsor, in a media release. 

"Pandemic recovery here will be about establishing a new benchmark for normal that we will achieve together.  These conversations will be a key ingredient of that success." 

Patterns, pandemic, new leadership

While the events will feature discussions on a number of community leaders to discuss current issues in the city, one of the objectives CUI has, is to observe city-wide patterns.

"Are there patterns of migration? Are there patterns of employment? Are there patterns of engagement?" said Rowe. 

Rowe pointed out the pandemic has exposed inequality, inequity and disconnection in a number of ways. She hopes the discussions will help develop holistic and equitable solutions to post-pandemic issues in the city. One option may be through more reliable transit. 

Mary W. Rowe is the president and CEO of the Canadian Urban Institute based in Toronto. (Canadian Urban Institute)

"Automobility and how we actually get around in cities is one of the most profound challenges every city in the world, particularly in North America is struggling with," said Rowe. 

She said climate change, emissions targets, compact spaces and carbon generation will be challenges the city may face in adapting transit options in the future.

Rowe also mentioned a need to discuss talent recruitment and future leadership in the city. 

"One of the challenges you're going to have here is generational leadership," said Rowe. "That's not unusual for Windsor but that is probably something that's going to be a particular challenge to you folks, is that you've got some older folks, my age, in managerial roles that run things a certain kinds of way."  

For residents who want to share how they have responded to the pandemic and learn more about the discussions in Windsor, CUI x Local will share what is discussed on CityShare/Canada, a real-time crowdsourcing platform for Canadians. 

With files by Chris Ensing