“Between justice theory and physical realities” at the AESOP TG Operationalizing the Just City

On the 24th of February 2022, together with Martin Sondermann (ARL – Academy for Territorial Development in the Leibniz Association), I am giving a presentation titled “Between justice theory and physical realities: urban gardening and cultures of spatial planning” at the AESOP Annual conference TG Ethics, Values and Planning – Operationalizing the Just City (Dortmund and online), chaired by Stefano Cozzolino & Arend Jonkman.

The conference focuses around the following issues:

Impacts of the ‘urban triumph’ have become increasingly discussed in the literature. Negative effects include inequality, polarisation, segregation, gentrification and unaffordable urban housing. In response, pledges for the advancement of more inclusive, accessible, liveable, or socially sustainable cities have been put forward, commonly discussed under the umbrella of ‘the Just City’. What that entails, what this concept practically implies, often remains vague and poorly articulated.

At a superficial level, everyone wants a ‘just city’, but once we make explicit what that means, the differences that exist and the difficult ethical choices that need to be made might become apparent and sometimes even permeated by deeply contrasting views. The question of what a just city is cannot be evaded, as its answer has great implications for the implementation of urban policies and planning interventions. Therefore, we need ‘to get our hands dirty’ and try to genuinely operationalise the concept.

With this call, contributions applying the concept of (or related to) the Just City in empirical research and contributions providing reflections on the following issues are welcomed:

  • How to apply the just city?
  • Which theory/idea of justice is legitimate to apply in a specific situation and why?
  • Which goods, capabilities, functionings, distributive rules and so on, to apply and in which circumstances?
  • How are different dimensions of the just city (e.g., distribution, democracy, recognition) related?
  • What indicators and measures to use for the valuation of justice and its different dimensions?
  • How does a just city relate to other values (e.g., kindness, dignity, equality, freedom)?

Here you find the link of the event, where non-presenting people can also participate to attend the various sessions and presentations (final program available on the web page):

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