The Bartlett School of Planning


PANEX-YOUTH: Adaptations of vulnerable young people during COVID-19

Adaptations of young people in monetary-poor households for surviving and recovering from COVID-19 and associated lockdowns.

A table of face masks taped to pieces of paper with words describing the prompt 'Covid and me'

1 April 2024


Panex-Youth is a large-scale research project (2022-2024) during which we want to understand how young people have adapted during the pandemic and assess the wider impact of such processes of adaptations in South Africa, Brazil and the UK (England). It is part of the Trans-Atlantic Platform (T-AP) Recovery, Renewal and Resilience in a Post-Pandemic World (RRR) Call, funded conjointly by the ESRC, the NRF and FAPESP.


It aims to understand and assess the impact of COVID-19 and associated policies on food, education, play/leisure of young people living in deprived settings and in conditions of poverty in the UK, Brazil and South Africa. To do so, we adopt a nexus approach, focusing on food, education, and play/leisure embedded within a wider understanding of the living settings (local places) and home/personal contexts (household composition and home/personal life). This project seeks to use an action research methodology to co-create this knowledge about such adaptations and generate wider recommendations, with young people, and the communities in which they live, and non-government bodies and non-profit organizations that focus on this age group. Our approach also allows to create a bridge between those affected by policy (young people) and those drafting and implementing policy (organizations). This projects resonates with issues of well-being, liveability and more importantly hidden voices, all at the core of planner’s priorities.

The Research Stages

  • Stage 1: Global Mapping Exercise
  • Aim: Map and develop typologies of the pandemic’s impact on the food/education/play-leisure nexus with a focus on young people’s vulnerabilities globally.
  • Stage 2: National and Regional Mappings
  • Aim: Situate and decrypt, in each of the three countries and regions ( West Midlands/Birmingham; Central RSA/Mangaung and Moqhaka; and São Paulo State/Paraisópolis), what have been the key impacts of pandemic-related policy towards the food, education, play/leisure nexus of issues facing young people during and after Covid, what policy/programmes/initiatives were developed, and how local places matter.
  • Stage 3: Zoom-ins on local adaptations of young people in monetary-poor households
  • Aim: Conduct an in-depth case study analysis in six case study areas, two/ three in each case study region with a focus on incremental and innovative strategies and the impact on those adaptations on everyday survival and recovery.
  • Stage 4: Co-designing multi-scalar solutions to foster young people’s recovery, resilience

This project's aim is to-design with our community of young people and our community of practice solutions that will help vulnerable young people to recover and be prepared in the eventuality of future major health and socio-economic crisis in line with the food, education, play/leisure nexus.

This project runs from June 2022 to November 2024.

People and collaborators

Professor Lauren Andres (Lead PI), The Bartlett School of Planning
Send Lauren an email
View Lauren's profile

Dr Paul Moawad, The Bartlett School of Planning
View Paul's profile

Professor Peter Kraftl, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham

Dr Cristiana Zara, University of Birmingham

Dr Abraham Matamanda, University of the Free State

Lochner Marias, University of the Free State

Dr Lejone John Ntema, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences & University of Fort Hare

Dr Leandro Giatti (Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São PauloFAPESP PI), Universidad e de São Paulo

Dr Luciana Bizzotto, Universidad e de São Paulo


Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Visit the ESRC website

National Research Foundation (NRF)
Visit the NRF website


In addition to a range of forthcoming academic outputs, we are focusing on giving a voice to children and young people and inform policy debates. This is done through the release of reports, press-releases, online workshops and podcasts.

Click here to view a set of available resources.
Read the latest report focusing on England here.
Visit the project website.

Related links

Follow The Bartlett School of Planning on X (formerly Twitter)
Follow The Bartlett School of Planning on LinkedIn
Visit the PANEX-YOUTH website

Go back to view all research projects

Photo by Lauren Andres