The economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are increasingly acute in cities across the global South, where the pandemic represents a crisis on a crisis that threatens the 2030 agenda. Local governments and residents of informal settlements have been particularly effective in mobilising to respond to COVID-19, which has meaningfully reduced transmission and fostered solidarity during the crisis. To create a shared vision, IIED hosted a series of workshops from autumn 2020 with international agencies, researchers and urban grassroots organisations. In the ensuing discussions, a framework was co-created; it proposes a vision for policy and practice that can support a transformative urban recovery (TUR). With appropriate support and political will, we believe that this framework can respond to the pandemic’s interrelated challenges in cities and towns and catalyse opportunities for transformative urban change.