1st Edition

Searching for the Just City Debates in Urban Theory and Practice

    286 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    284 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Cities are many things. Among their least appealing aspects, cities are frequently characterized by concentrations of insecurity and exploitation. Cities have also long represented promises of opportunity and liberation. Public decision-making in contemporary cities is full of conflict, and principles of justice are rarely the explicit basis for the resolution of disputes. If today’s cities are full of injustices and unrealized promises, how would a Just City function? Is a Just City merely a utopia, or does it have practical relevance? This book engages with the growing debate around these questions.

    The notion of the Just City emerges from philosophical discussions about what justice is combined with the intellectual history of utopias and ideal cities. The contributors to this volume, including Susan Fainstein, David Harvey and Margit Mayer articulate a conception of the Just City and then examine it from differing angles, ranging from Marxist thought to communicative theory. The arguments both develop the concept of a Just City and question it, as well as suggesting alternatives for future expansion. Explorations of the concept in practice include case studies primarily from U.S. cities, but also from Europe, the Middle East and Latin America.

    The authors find that a forthright call for justice in all aspects of city life, putting the question of what a Just City should be on the agenda of urban reform, can be a practical approach to solving questions of urban policy. This synthesis is provocative in a globalised world and the contributing authors bridge the gap between theoretical conceptualizations of urban justice and the reality of planning and building cities. The notion of the Just City is an empowering framework for contemporary urban actors to improve the quality of urban life and Searching for the Just City is a seminal read for practitioners, professionals, students, researchers and anyone interested in what urban futures should aim to achieve.

    Introduction (James Connolly and Justin Steil)  Section 1: Why Justice? Theoretical Foundations of the Just City Debate  1. Planning and the Just City (Susan S. Fainstein)  2. The Right to the Just City (David Harvey with Cuz Potter)  3. Discursive Planning: Social Justice as Discourse (Frank Fischer)  4. Justice and the Spatial Imagination (Mustafa Dikeç)  Section 2: What are the Limits of the Just City? Expanding the Debate  5. From Justice Planning to Commons Planning (Peter Marcuse)  6. As Just as it Gets? The European City in the Just City Discourse (Johannes Novy and Margit Mayer)  7. Urban Justice and Recognition: Affirmation and Hostility in Beer Sheva (Oren Yiftachel, Ravit Goldhaber, and Roy Nuriel)  8. On Globalization, Competition and Economic Justice in Cities (James DeFilippis) Section 3: How Do We Realize Just Cities? From Debate to Action  9. Keeping Counterpublics Alive in Planning (Laura Wolf-Powers)  10. Can The Just City Be Built From Below? Brownfields, Planning and Power in the South Bronx (Justin Steil and James Connolly)  11. Just City: A Utopia Still Possible? (Erminia Maricato with Cuz Potter)  12.Race in New Orleans Since Katrina (J. Phillip Thompson) Conclusion (Johannes Novy and Cuz Potter)


    Peter Marcuse, a lawyer and urban planner, is Professor Emeritus of Urban Planning at Columbia University in New York City. He is currently involved in, and has written on, the impact of September 11 on New York City, of Katrina on New Orleans, and on globalization, focusing on its impact on social justice.

    James Connolly is a doctoral student in Urban Planning at Columbia University. His research focuses on the role of community organizations within complex organizational fields of urban policy-making.

    Johannes Novy is currently finishing his PhD in Urban Planning at Columbia University's Graduate School for Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Novy's research interests include planning history and theory, urban tourism, as well as urban development in North America and Europe.

    Ingrid Olivo is a PhD student in Urban Planning at Columbia University. Her research focuses on the role of cultural heritage in post-disaster development planning.

    Cuz Potter is a doctoral student in the Urban Planning Department at Columbia University.

    Justin Steil is a joint PhD/JD student in Urban Planning and in Law at Columbia University. His research focuses on the exercise of power through control over space, especially through the relation between housing, land use and immigration.

    "Reading The Just City, one becomes aware that urban scholarship has been inexorably leading towards a book exactly like this one for a long time. These essays synthesize the debates that engaged us in our studies of the 20th-century city, and chart out the intellectual path we will be taking in the 21st."

    -- Dennis R. Judd, University of Illinois at Chicago


    "Here at last are essays for our times. With the collapse of the neo-liberal order, we must rethink how we can construct a new life in cities around the world, a life based on conceptions of social justice. The essays in this volume are not only state of the art, but are written with passion, providing examples to stir the embers of belief that we can build a better world."

    -- John Friedmann, Prof. emeritus UCLA, Hon. Professor, University of British Columbia

     "Cities were where the division of labour began. Then planned cities housed the ordered life of bourgeois commerce but excluded generations of women, poor people and migrants from the benefits of urban living. The idealised city was not the just city. Today, difference is recognised in urban discourses but a widening gap separates those who gain from a city’s opportunities and those who are disenfranchised on a global scale. Given an urgent need to understand how urban justice can be produced, this book is timely. It brings together some of the most accomplished commentators in the field. The writing is always incisive, ranging from philosophical discussion to examination of tensions in planning debates and case studies. The book offers a coherent approach without masking complexities, and should be required reading for anyone involved in urban studies, planning and governance."

     -- Malcolm Miles, Professor of Cultural Theory, University of Plymouth, UK

    "The editors have assembled a thought provoking collection of theoretical and empirical essays that offer a broad introduction to the Just City movement of planners and urbanists. Its editors and contributors take us through a comprehensive analysis of the relationships between justice and the lived urban environment."

    -- Herbert J Gans, author, IMAGINING AMERICA IN 2033. Robert S Lynd Prof. Emeritus of Sociology, Columbia University

    Notwithstanding the slant of the book toward East Coast secular progressives, this is a provocative collection of articles that readers will find richly rewarding. In the shadow of corporate capitalism and the preoccupation with economic efficiency, in recent decades planners have been almost embarrassed to speak the language of justice. If this book helps to release full-throated calls for urban justice, it will have fulfilled an important function. Todd Swanstrom University of Missouri-St Louis