Building Back Better from Below(B4): Harnessing Innovations in Community Response and Intersectoral Collaboration for Health and Food Justice Beyond the Covid-19 Pandemic


The Covid-19 pandemic has deepened existing social, health and nutritional inequities and highlighted common challenges facing marginalised and racialised communities in cities across the Global North and South. It has also driven new social innovations and cross-sector collaborations, some of which may have the potential to transform the longstanding inequities that undermine global health, food systems and governance processes. This new project will document, analyse and draw wider lessons from the collaborations that have emerged in three socially diverse and economically dynamic but unequal cities: São Paulo (Brazil), Toronto (Canada) and Brighton (UK).

IDS researchers and local partners in the City of Brighton & Hove are working with teams led by the University of Toronto Scarborough, School of Cities and Dalla Lana School of Public Health  in Toronto, and The Brazilian Center of Analysis and Planning (CEBRAP) and Escola de Administração de Empresas de São Paulo da Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV EAESP) in São Paulo on this collaborative initiative, which is funded by the Trans-Atlantic Platform. The project combines insights from social science research and the lived experiences of activists, social entrepreneurs, front-line workers and local public officials to identify strategies for future action to disrupt entrenched patterns of inequity and secure health rights and food justice after the pandemic. Recognising the intersecting nature of the health, food equity and democratic representation challenges the pandemic has brought, we will take an action research approach to analysing the trajectories, outcomes and sustainability of grassroots innovations and collaborations that have emerged since March 2020 among activists and front-line service providers working with marginalised and racialised communities in the three cities.

Thematic workstreams will examine innovative local initiatives to ensure access to primary health care, emergency food provision and political representation of the needs and priorities of marginalised communities disproportionately burdened by Covid-19. They will, analyse the social, political, institutional and policy factors that have enabled or hindered effective collaboration and co-production of programmes and services between citizens and public authorities, between different levels of government and between state, community and business actors.

Synthesis work will examine the outcomes and sustainability of the experiences of cross-sector policy coordination and multi-stakeholder collaboration that have emerged in the three cities during the pandemic. It will, assessing their potential to underpin strategic and scaled-up action to tackle intersecting inequities affecting marginalised and racialised communities in Brazil, Canada, the UK and beyond.

UK partners

The UK team will work with a number of local community groups and service provider agencies in  Brighton and Hove. While we expect the range of local partners to grow over the course of the project, the following organisations have already agreed to be project collaborative partners:

This page is live and will be updated as project plans crystallise, and outputs materialise.

Press and outputs

Press releases



Image of Alex Shankland

Alex Shankland

Research Fellow

Image of Erica Nelson

Erica Nelson

Research Fellow

Image of Gerald Bloom

Gerald Bloom

Research Fellow

Image of Jennifer Constantine

Jennifer Constantine

Policy Engagement and Research Consultant

Image of Jodie Thorpe

Jodie Thorpe

Research Fellow

Katy Miller

Project Accountant

Image of Lidia Cabral

Lidia Cabral

Research Fellow

Image of Martin Gardner

Martin Gardner

Project Support Officer

Recent work


Trans-Atlantic study looks to Brighton and Hove for lessons from pandemic

Health and care partners in Brighton and Hove are to be part of a new Trans-Atlantic research project to find important lessons from the pandemic to help reduce inequality. The Institute of Development Studies research project aims to identify the innovations and collaborations that have...

15 June 2022