The COVID-19 pandemic jolted the world in 2020 and thrust us into a new reality. Governments, communities, and individuals were tasked with finding innovative and practical solutions to ease the burden of a global crisis. Meanwhile, the pandemic laid bare the brutality of racial disparities in access to healthcare, economic opportunity, education and more. The stories featured in this section do not seek a “return to normal.” The norms of the past tolerated deep inequity and injustice in cities. These stories highlight how cities used the urgency of the pandemic to create new systems, as well as retool old ones and lead us through unprecedented times. (Photo by CDC on Unsplash)

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