The Care19 mobile app, which the governors of North Dakota and South Dakota have asked residents to download to assist in contact tracing during the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), is seen on a phone

From public transport to cultural scenes and social gatherings, urban areas have faced a series of unique challenges in the fight against Covid-19. The key weapon in this fight has been the use of data – both in the shorter-term as cities have sought to contain the outbreak and recover, and also in the longer term to create pandemic resilience and improve services to citizens in a post-Covid-19 world. Yet two questions remain unanswered: can this greater public authority insight gained from data gathered both during and after this pandemic be reconciled with the erosion of privacy, and is this an opportunity to increase citizen involvement in the development of the cities of the future?
This article is part of our Future Cities series where our sector experts examine the most pressing issues facing our cities in the post-Covid era and provide their views and advice on how to prepare for, and adapt to, the long-term legacy of the crisis.