Matúš Vallo is an architect, urban activist and the Mayor of Bratislava. With his architectonic studio Vallo Sadovsky Architects, he realized numerous projects both in Slovakia and abroad. He is the driving force behind the “Urban Actions” initiative which since 2008 generated over 900 projects aimed at improving public spaces. He is also the founder of the “We are the City” civic association which focuses on public areas with intention of stimulating interaction between experts and the general public.
In the municipal elections of 2018, he ran for the office with the team of best urban experts from different areas who were also the co-authors of the Bratislava Plan, a comprehensive manual for dealing with specific challenges the City of Bratislava has been facing. Since entering office, he and his team have been gradually implementing concrete elements of the Plan in particular areas of city management.
In 2019, together with 40 mayors from around the world, he was selected for the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership program which aims at gaining the latest knowledge in managerial innovation with respect to solving city problems and improving the quality of life.
What has the pandemic shown us in terms of the capacities of cities in handling fast-changing and evolving crises? How did cities perform and how have their performances impacted the level of trust of people in their respective local institutions? What communication strategies are better suited for local governments and how do these foster trust in local institutions over national governments?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, local governments, municipalities, and cities were faced overnight with new challenges that had not occurred for several generations. While central governments had so far assumed the lion’s share of management responsibilities and governance, the pandemic highlighted central government shortfalls in dealing with local clusters of infections and a fast-evolving health crisis. In some places, this triggered a shift in population trust from central state authorities to local governments.