Update on our Frontrunner 4 Project: social and urban resilience concerning pandemic & disasters

On February 5th, 2024, Kevin Pijpers, post-doctoral researcher, and Guusje Enneking, PhD candidate, both affiliated with Frontrunner 4 focusing on social and urban resilience concerning pandemics and disasters, organized a gathering with fellow PhD candidates and principal investigators. The aim was to exchange initial findings and methodological insights from their respective research endeavors.

Sake de Vlas, set to assume the role of PI in March 2024, provided an introductory overview of his expertise in infectious disease epidemiology and modeling. He illustrated his expertise with examples from ongoing research projects, including individual-based modeling related to COVID-19.

Following this, Kevin and Guusje delivered a duo presentation on social infrastructures, examining their material, political, and human dimensions. Guusje delved into the theoretical aspects, presenting preliminary findings from a systematic literature review. Kevin shared empirical insights derived from ethnographic research conducted in three community spaces: community restaurant, playground, and community garden in Rotterdam South.

The afternoon continued with presentations by other PhD candidates, Lotte Schrijver and PingPing Song. Lotte shared some food-for-thought on her research on misinformation, posing questions about (how) can we distinguish between false (misleading) and accurate information and what does this mean for the room we leave on critical debate? Is misinformation also a political polarizing label? Are we contributing to stigmatization by using this label?

PingPing, whose research focuses on the spread of COVID-19 through social networks: lessons for future pandemics, outlined some methodological challenges in her research, such as data acquisition and usage.

On the final part of the afternoon, moderated by Pearl Dykstra, a discussion unfolded regarding the interconnectedness of the various research projects. While a definitive common ground was yet to be established, emerging themes included stakeholder involvement, societal resilience, and fostering conducive environments for a debate. The dialogue is slated to continue in forthcoming meetings.