Small Grant Scheme on Pandemics, Cities, Regions & Industry: Build back better cities for aged people in Europe
Covid-19 outbreak has affected mostly people in the second half of their lives, at risk of isolation and loneliness, and whose well-being has deteriorated severely.
In this context, the research project aims to assess the suitability of European cities to elderly people, identifying needs important for their well-being even before the Covid-19 pandemic, but that have become more and more important nowadays. To do so we employ the Perception Survey on the Quality of Life 2019 representative for the population of each of the 83 European cities in the sample, comprising a total of 58,100 complete interviews. Regression analyses will allow us to identify what elements of cities were perceived to be the most relevant for the elderly already before the pandemic and have to be strengthened.
Our results will inform policy makers about which areas have to be prioritized and which kind of choices could greatly improve the urban liveability for the elderly, bearing in mind the recent Covid-19 implications. The analysis is critical to discover how cities should be re-organized, especially accounting for the peculiar necessities of this frail age group, bearing the brunt of a pandemic on this scale. In fact, it is essential to develop people-centered communities able to foster the ability of older people to age in place, and that best practices could be spread in light of latest events. The assessment should provide a contribution to European decision-making processes headed to improve the perception of age-friendliness of urban environments, implementing a paradigm for reference, given the great heterogeneity of features characterizing European cities.
“We are thankful that the Regional Studies Association awarded us with the Small Grant Scheme on Pandemics, Cities, Regions and Industry. The grant will enhance research agendas on the issue of ageing population, within the context of European cities. Bearing in mind that people in the second half of their lives were the hardest hit by the pandemic, our research project aims to highlight different scenarios of how the Covid-19 had an impact on the urban setting and which interventions could boost its senior-friendliness.”
Principal investigator: Nicola Pontarollo
Nicola Pontarollo is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the Department of Economics and Management of the University of Brescia, Italy. After his PhD he has been an Assistant Professor at the Catholic University of the North (Antofagasta, Chile), Postdoc researcher at the University of Milan-Bicocca (Milan, Italy) and Statistical Officer at the Joint Research Centre, European Commission. He also carried out visiting and teaching periods at the University of Cuenca (Cuenca, Ecuador) and the Suleyman Demirel University (Almaty, Kazakhstan). His scientific interests include the study of regional resilience and subnational economic growth. Recently, his research has focused on the analysis of the geography of discontent, subjective well-being and material deprivation. He is the author of several publications on international specialized journals and volumes.
Team member: Maria Laura Parisi
Maria Laura Parisi is an Associate Professor of Economics at the Department of Economics and Management of the University of Brescia, Italy. Her recent research interests include income inequality, poverty and material deprivation; smartworking and the effect of the pandemics; labor market polarization and productivity; the silver economy. She is the author of several publications on international specialized journals and volumes. She is currently a co-investigator in a consortium of three Italian universities on a PRIN 2020-2023 project funded by the Italian Ministry of University and Research
Research assistant: Carolina Foglia
Carolina Foglia is a recently graduated master student at the University of Brescia (Brescia, Italy), enrolled in the PhD program of Economics and Institutions at the University of Perugia (Perugia, Italy). She obtained a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a master’s degree in Management at the University of Brescia. Her first article was published in Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space and analyzed the suitability of European cities to host an increasing number of elderly people.