Published on: 23. November 2021

Operationalizing the Just City – Annual conference of the AESOP Thematic Group of Ethics, Values and Planning

24 and 25 February 2022

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.

Conference programm

Thursday, February 24

Moderator: to be defined

  • What can we really learn from Rawls? Still on the road towards theorizing the just city
    Stefano Moroni (Polytechnic University of Milan)
  • What is wrong with displacement? On the limits of moral monism
    Bart van Leeuwen (Radboud University)
  • Urban social reproduction: a new perspective on the requirements of just cities
    Sander van Lanen (University of Groningen)
  • A scoping review of practical and scholarly implications of the Just City: a pilot study
    Nina Alvandipour (University of Central Florida) – Thomas Bryer (University of Central Florida

Moderator: Ceren Sezer (RWTH Aachen University)

  • Approaching spatial justice in practice: a European comparative perspective on the relationship between (un)just processes and (un)just outcomes in local development actions
    Sabine Weck (ILS – Research Institute for Regional and Urban Development) – Peter Schmitt (Stockholm University)
  • Just Infrastructure – Scenarios of Contradictions and Interferences
    Mathias Jehling (IOER – Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development) – Thomas Hartmann (TU Dortmund University)
  • Urban Planning Standards and Guidelines: Just Implementation?
    Mee Kam Ng – Hilary Wong (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)
  • What are the different dimensions of working on more just cities?
    Max Weghorst (Utrecht University – PhD candidate)

Moderator: Arend Jonkman

  • Comparing conceptions of dignity, planning and the common good
    Charles Hoch – Sanjeev Vidyarthi (University of Illinois at Chicago)
  • Contrasting organized crime for the just city. Not only a legal but also a social justice issue
    Anita De Franco (Polytechnic University of Milan)
  • Social justice or historical justice? What just city in post-apartheid South Africa?
    Khanyile Mlotshwa (University of KwaZulu Natal)
  • The ‘small data’ for making ‘the just cities’. Reflections from the case of a Sicilian petrochemical town
    Elisa Privitera (University of Catania)
Moderator: Kathrin Specht (ILS – Research Institute for Regional and Urban Development)

  • From mute to resonating human-nature relations for just cities and beyond
    Martina Artmann – Philip Harms – Mabel Killinger – Susanne Müller (IOER -Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development)
  • Between justice theory and physical realities: urban gardening and cultures of spatial planning
    Martin Sondermann (ARL – Academy for Territorial Development in the Leibniz Association) – Chiara Certomà (University of Turin)
  • Expanding the boundaries of food policy: The turn to equity in New York City
    Nevin Cohen (City University of New York)
  • Is it sacred? Informal greenery as a focal point for experiencing nature. Case studies of Warsaw (Poland) and Tabanan, Bali (Indonesia)
    Beata Joanna Gawryszewska (Warsaw University of Life Sciences) – Naniek Kohdrata (Udayana University) – Anak Agung Keswari Krisnandika (Udayana University)

Friday, February 25

Moderator: to be defined

  • Housing affordability and participation but for whom? In search of tools to reduce spatial injustice within the urban project
    Camilla Ariani – Daniela De Leo (La Sapienza University of Rome)
  • (Re)questioning the City’s concept to implement the idea of justice: the interest from punctual interventions processes to operationalize the Just City
    Achmani Youness (University of Tours) – Sara Altamore – Daniela De Leo (La Sapienza University of Rome)
  • Are good intentions enough? Evaluating social sustainability goals in urban development projects through the Capability Approach
    Céline Janssen (Delft University of Technology)
  • The commodification of public real estate assets. The privatisation of former military land in Spain between 1984 and 2021
    Federico Camerin (Universidad UVA de Valladolid and Universidad UPM de Madrid-GIAU+S)

Moderator: to be defined

  • Lessons from struggles: an analytical reflection on three studies for operationalizing the just city
    Arend Jonkman (Delft University of Technology)
  • Operationalizing the capability approach to assessing housing inequality: The measurement of multidimensional disadvantages in the housing process
    Boram Kimhur (Delft University of Technology)
  • Adaptability, Responsibility and Care: operationalizing just planning
    Yael Savaya – Nurit Alfasi (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev)
  • Kindness in planning and the need for explicit reflection
    Vanoutrive Thomas (University of Antwerp)

Moderator: to be defined

  • Access to green, but the result is green gentrification: how we can avoid negative trade-offs within a just city idea
    Thomas Thaler (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences)
  • Capacity building on spatial justice through public space provision: the UN-Habitat and NAHNOO in Lebanon
    Christine Mady (Notre Dame University) – Ceren Sezer (RWTH Aachen University)
  • Towards a fair-shared city: Questioning the socio-spatial marginalization of children and teens in public spaces
    Garyfallia Katsavounidou (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki)
  • Serious Gaming as a Method to Facilitate Just Planning Under Pressure
    Claudia Rot (Wageningen University and Research)
Moderator: to be defined

  • Do human animals in the just city kill and eat non-human animals? Revisting the curious neglect of Rawls‘ theory of justice for “animals and the rest of nature”
    Ben Davy (Unversity of Johannesburg)
  • Spatio-visual (In)justice
    Mennatullah Hendawy (TU Berlin/ UMASS Amherst/ Ain shams university)
  • Planning for recognition
    Eizenberg Efrat (The Technion, Israel Institute of Technology)
  • Reflections on the interplay between urban beauty and justice
    Stefano Cozzolino (ILS – Research Institute for Regional and Urban Development)



  • Dr. Stefano Cozzolino , ILS – Research Institute for Regional and Urban Development
  • Dr. Arend Jonkman, Delft University of Technology

With the support of:

  • ILS – Research Institute for Regional and Urban Development (Dortmund)
  • AESOP – Association of European Schools of Planning

Contact person at ILS

Dr. Stefano Cozzolino
Phone: +49 (0) 231 9051-237

Modified on: 23. February 2022