Vilnius Through the Pandemic: the Crisis Creativity
As many cities around the world, Vilnius has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Economic consequences of quarantine, social distancing rules, fear and uncertainty about the future – all have shaken the foundations of our society and posed unique challenges.
But the crisis has also opened us new opportunities. While chaotic times may shock, they can also give strength and stimulate creativity to help endure any tribulation.
"While the COVID-19 pandemic is a major blow to society and economy, we should not overlook the opportunity inherent in every crisis. Restricted in many ways we cooperate more eagerly and this new impulse of communal creativity provides necessary inspiration and support for projects that would have been impossible under normal conditions. Again and again we discover new creative ways to unveil the boundless charm of our city." – Remigijus Šimašius, Mayor of Vilnius.
Thinking of what helped us not to succumb in the face of pandemic we have formulated a set of principles that has guided us through the initial period of crisis and will, we believe, guide us in the future.
Turn Constraints into Opportunities
A global pandemic invariably limits the human experience. Yet what is a challenge but a disguised opportunity waiting to be seized? Whether it is a digitized film festival, a shut-down airport turned into a drive-in aerocinema or a massive outdoor café taking over the streets, constraints can often act as a catalyst for innovation.
Focus on Mental Wellbeing
Though the pandemic definitely has its toll on physical health, taking care of mental wellbeing is equally important. In a time of great distress and isolation, a chink of light can come from a simple drone photoshoot in the balcony, sunbathing on a sand beach in the most popular urban area and a little extra stability with the help of an app.
Welcome and Facilitate Cooperation
It is true that what unites us is greater than what divides us. But it is also true that collaboration is not a given and must be encouraged to generate new ideas – some as bizarre and clever as fashion mannequins in a café keeping company with guests or the whole city's collaboration to celebrate one foreign culture at a time.
Involve the Community
In tough times like this, community engagement is the source of hope and change. Be it an ordinary person with an extraordinary idea or a crowd of like-minded people, the freedom to leave a mark inspires unity, efficient communication and well-organized actions – the key trio to make any mountain move.