Spatial Justice refers to the fair distribution of spatial benefits and burdens (distributive spatial justice) and the realization of the ‘right to the city’, understood as the opportunity to shape the built environment to the one’s needs and wishes (procedural spatial justice). This seed project comprises the organization of a symposium on the topic, which will serve as a springboard to the compilation of a handbook on the topic. The symposium and handbook build on several related initiatives in which researchers from Delft University of Technology were involved in the past decade.
Leading academics are expected to contribute to the symposium on Spatial Justice that is made possible by this seed grant. Results of the symposium will be made available in a report and will feed into the compilation of a handbook, titled The Handbook on Spatial Justice: Values for the Built Environment. This handbook discusses how to teach and study issues connected to spatial justice: democracy, the nature and role of the State, rule of law, participation, governance and ethical values in planning and designing for people.
Both the report and the handbook will be made available online. The handbook and website will in turn provide resources and building blocks for the future development of a MOOC on this topic (not part of this proposal). The seed project is part of existing efforts to systematize education in the area of spatial justice.
Background of the project
Since approximately 10 years ago, the Department of Urbanism of of the TU Delft Faculty of Architecture & the Built Environment has been trying to integrate issues of spatial justice, ethics and democracy into its Master track. This was often done in partnership with the Department of Research for the Built Environment (OTB), the TU Delft Faculty of Technology, Policy & Management (TPM), the Rotterdam base Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS) and other groups/institutions.
This partnership has so far resulted in several outputs, including
- dedicated sessions on ethics for the built environment, spatial justice, democracy and public goods in the Urbanism master track
- discussion on the UN-Habitat New Urban Agenda launched in Quito in 2016 and the European Urban Agenda, also launched in 2016 with the Pact of Amsterdam.
This discussion has already spurred several further activities, such as
- a UN-Habitat-sponsored Urban Thinkers Campus and
- the Confronting Informality Symposium, in which students from the Department of Urbanism discuss urbanization in the global south in light of issues of rights, democracy and participation, including
- an international design and ideas competition on slum upgrading strategies, and also
- the Africa Perspectives, in which the Faculty of Architecture & the Built Environment wishes to discuss sustainable urbanization in Africa.