Cities in the Asia-Pacific region have been heavily hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Hyperconnected in a global web of urban networks, cities in the region have been the first hotspots. Although its impact was unprecedented, the disease was not unexpected, as similar contagious respiratory illnesses have previously occurred in the region. At the same time, unsustainable urbanization in the region, magnified by climate change, is a significant contributing factor to the emergence of new and more frequent zoonotic diseases.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on urban dwellers has placed a focus on the spatial and socioeconomic aspects of cities. In addition, the crises not only demands attention for infectious diseases, but also for the serious increase of non-communicable diseases., often called the invisible pandemic, that are related to unhealthy environments and explain the more serious complications among COVID-19 victims. The various cycles of lockdowns and containments also have increased mental health issues among all generations. All these facts help to raise awareness that there is a need not just to look beyond the immediate COVID-19 response and economic recovery in the short term, but also to invest in sustainable urban development that strengthens health systems and urban resilience.