With the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic and the UK’s changing geo-political relations, the extent of economic, social, and cultural change to occur in coming years is virtually impossible to predict, as are the wider implications it will have. This uncertainty is magnified in London’s Boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark, which are home to not only vibrant and diverse communities but stark health inequalities.
Public policy and long-term decision making are essential to identifying and proposing solutions to these Boroughs’ most difficult problems, but the current moment of social and political uncertainty provides a significant challenge to the community organisations and institutions which lead such work. Commissioned by Impact on Urban Health, the study analyses the current social and demographic characteristics of the boroughs alongside a traditional literature survey and analysis of published data. Borough leaders and community researchers who live and work in the boroughs were interviewed to truly capture the social realities of the local communities.
By looking at several factors likely to influence them in the short-to-medium term, a series of ‘scenarios’ were developed to help shape future policy in a post-COVID-19 world. The research report suggests that relatively small changes could deliver vastly improved outcomes. The scenarios have been made into illustrations to capture what change might look like.
Cautious Recovery Scenario
As well as a model for the way decision-makers might plan, monitor and evaluate policies around health equity, the research also led to three other practical recommendations:
- The public sector would benefit from more granular and sensitive understanding of the links between people’s health and their social circumstances
- Issues of mistrust in communities must be addressed by ensuring the process of building health equity is equitable itself
- Policy makers should learn from the experiences of other cities around the world, particularly in the context of COVID-19 recovery
Explore the key takeaways and scenario illustrations via the Impact on Urban Health, Future Scenarios for Lambeth and Southwark webpage here.
Download the research report here
Tony Travers, Professor in Practice, LSE Department of Government & Director, LSE London
Ricky Burdett, Professor of Urban Studies, Director of LSE Cities
Alexandra Zisser, Research Officer, LSE Cities
Alexandra Gomes, Research Officer, LSE Cities