A Lancaster University lecturer has been at the forefront of a project to provide insight into post-pandemic social challenges in European cities.
Dr Joanna Kostka, a lecturer in social work, acted as a senior expert for the research delivered by Public Policy and Management Institute, a prominent Think Tank located in Vilnius, Lithuania. She is also a co-author of the final report and policy recommendations
The Regional Development Committee (REGI) of the European Parliament published the study, ‘Social Challenges in Cities’, which examines inclusive urban policymaking following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The study provides much-needed insight into existing and new social challenges in European cities and policy responses and governance methods to address these challenges.
It also shows that marginalised groups have become even more vulnerable during the pandemic due to the poor economic, social, institutional, physical and natural resilience of the cities in which they live.
As an expert on European Cohesion Policy, Dr Kostka helped to identify and analyse severe shortcomings within EU funding for sustainable urban development.
The key findings show that widespread discrimination against ethnic and racial minorities, as well as xenophobic sentiments, continue to divert funding away from 'unpopular' groups.
A lack of meaningful participation compounds this issue by excluded and marginalised groups in decision-making processes at the urban level and their lack of organisational and administrative capacity to effectively compete for funding or to implement sustainable projects.
“The study provides concrete policy recommendations to the local authorities, national governments and EU-level stakeholders,” said Dr Kostka. “It aspires to provide a clear blueprint for significant reforms and adjustments.
“Lancaster’s involvement and contribution reaffirm the University's values and commitment to equality and diversity and its constant drive to produce research that changes practice and thinking.”
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