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The just city

The just city Justice has always been a major topic within political philosophy, but scholars in the behavioural sciences have largely avoided normative statements. After the urban uprisings of the 1960s and 1970s, however, leftist scholars adopted a critical approach that, while not specifying a concept of justice, injected a moral dimension into their work. Within urban studies, the argument of Henri Lefebvre, who defined space as a social construction and who maintained that all groups should have a ‘right to the city’, became particularly influential. During the 1990s, scholars began to be more explicit about the concept of justice. Three main approaches to urban justice were developed: (1) communicative rationality; (2) recognition of diversity; (3) the just city/spatial justice. Differences between the communicative and just city approaches revolved around emphasis on democracy versus equity, process versus outcome. I argue that democracy, diversity, and equity are the three governing principles for urban justice but also recognize the tension among them. Although structural transformation cannot be achieved at the municipal level, a change in the rhetoric around urban policy from a focus on competitiveness to a discourse about justice can improve the quality of life for urban residents. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Urban Sciences Taylor & Francis

The just city

International Journal of Urban Sciences , Volume 18 (1): 18 – Jan 2, 2014
18 pages

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References (119)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
© 2013 The Institute of Urban Sciences
ISSN
2161-6779
eISSN
1226-5934
DOI
10.1080/12265934.2013.834643
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Justice has always been a major topic within political philosophy, but scholars in the behavioural sciences have largely avoided normative statements. After the urban uprisings of the 1960s and 1970s, however, leftist scholars adopted a critical approach that, while not specifying a concept of justice, injected a moral dimension into their work. Within urban studies, the argument of Henri Lefebvre, who defined space as a social construction and who maintained that all groups should have a ‘right to the city’, became particularly influential. During the 1990s, scholars began to be more explicit about the concept of justice. Three main approaches to urban justice were developed: (1) communicative rationality; (2) recognition of diversity; (3) the just city/spatial justice. Differences between the communicative and just city approaches revolved around emphasis on democracy versus equity, process versus outcome. I argue that democracy, diversity, and equity are the three governing principles for urban justice but also recognize the tension among them. Although structural transformation cannot be achieved at the municipal level, a change in the rhetoric around urban policy from a focus on competitiveness to a discourse about justice can improve the quality of life for urban residents.

Journal

International Journal of Urban SciencesTaylor & Francis

Published: Jan 2, 2014

Keywords: just city; urban theory; planning theory; right to the city; spatial justice

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