Special Issue "COVID-19 and Urban Inequalities: Spatial and Digital Dimensions"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Urban and Rural Development".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Jianquan Cheng
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Natural Sciences, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, M1 5GD, UK
Interests: sustainable healthy city; urban analytics; urbanization in China
Prof. Jon Bannister
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Crime and Well-being Big Data Centre, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK
Interests: criminology; urban studies; unban inequality

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The COVID-19 pandemic has manifested substantial health inequalities. The interdependencies between socio-economic activities, spatial mobility, environmental and information exposure, and perceptions of health risks have informed inequalities between social groups and across spatial scales. Inequalities have emerged at different stages of the pandemic, from lockdown to  the early steps towards recovery, and are likely to extend in to the future as and when vaccines become available. Combating COVID-19 related health inequalities demands comprehensive understanding of these various dimensions and their drivers. It demands a systematic approach to resilient policy making, one capable of taking account of the complex and heterogeneous, spatial and temporal, dimensions of social processes. It will demand varying hard and soft interventions. Digital technologies and governance practices will play a central role in these strategies.

This Special Issue is particularly focused on examining the spatial (temporal) and digital dimensions of COVID-19-related health inequalities across diverse contexts. Its ambition is to provide evidence-based insights into how equitable urban health outcomes can be generated and sustained through resilient policy making, and of the central role that digital technologies and governance practices can play in these  outcomes. This Special Issue complements urban sustainability studies by considering the interactions between existing urban inequalities and COVID-19 related health inequalities. The papers in this Special Issue can be theoretical, methodological, technical, experimental and/or empirical. They can rely on qualitative, quantitative or big data, and be informed by diverse methodologies including AI and mixed methods. International comparisons of diverse contexts and multi-disciplinary studies are particularly encouraged. This Special Issue welcomes the following topics, but is not limited to:

  • Spatial and temporal inequality in COVID-19 diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation
  • Spatial and temporal patterns of environmental exposure to COVID-19 virus in the context of mobility restrictions
  • The spatial, socio-economic and behaviour determinants of the heterogeneous risks of exposure to COVID-19 virus
  • Inequality of impacts of digital infrastructure on monitoring, tracking, and supporting the COVID-19 control measures
  • Inequality of impacts of governance practice on COVID-19 health risks, prevention and intervention
  • Innovative methods of collecting data, analysing patterns, and modelling dynamics related to COVID-19 health inequalities

Dr. Jianquan Cheng
Prof. Jon Bannister
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • health inequality
  • COVID-19
  • lockdown
  • exposure
  • digital
  • mobility
  • spatial pattern
  • temporal dynamics
  • heterogeneity
  • dynamics
  • governance
  • health risks
  • health intervention
  • multi-scale

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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