Urban PoLicy Innovation to address inequality with and for Future generaTions

2020 - 2022

UPLIFT seeks to establish an innovative approach to urban policy design for reducing socio-economic inequalities. It acknowledges hat policies aiming to reduce inequalities are often ineffective, as they do not respond properly to the strategies and behaviours of vulnerable households. At the same time, policy failure in the face of increasing socio-economic polarisation, especially in the post-crisis period and under the fourth industrial revolution, could further destabilise social cohesion and resilience. To address this challenge, UPLIFT aims to develop a Reflexive Policy Agenda through participatory co-creation: with the inclusion of vulnerable policy beneficiaries, the project will yield context-specific, flexible, adaptable policies, with appropriate feedback mechanisms.

UPLIFT follows a multi-layer research method to map the processes and drivers of urban inequality in the post-crisis context. It uses macro level findings to contextualise micro level outcomes. It analyses the scale and dimensions of inequality in the EU, focusing on the national and regional (NUTS 2) scale. It then narrows down to sixteen functional urban areas (representing four robust urban types), looking at local inequality dimensions and drivers, and interpreting policy responses. On the third level the research narrows again to eight case studies, where micro-level analyses of vulnerability are carried out through the lens of youth (aged 15-29). Finally, in four Implementation sites UPLIFT co-creates reflexive policies with local stakeholders and communities, putting vulnerable youth in the centre from an educational, housing, or employment perspective. This focus on youth is not only a research tool, but is strongly justified by recent economic and policy shifts, which have put them most at risk of poverty and vulnerability in Europe. Additionally inequality at an early age tends to increase over the life cycle of the age cohort, necessitating early interventions.