OC 37: Open Cities Blog – Follow-up From British Council Open Cities Blog


British Council URBACT Open Cities project

Up to now, all the posts on my Open Cities blog constituted inputs to the blog I was invited to write for the British Council for its Open Cities project website. This project, funded by URBACT II has been completed in May 2011. I have reviewed some of the outcomes of the project in post 36. Since then the Open Cities website has been reduced to just an archive and a link to the Open Cities monitor and all the blogs have been terminated.

I have decided to continue my blog on open cities on <www.urbanthinker.com>.

Open Cities, Social Justice, Spatial Justice

From now on I will broaden the notion of Open Cities to include a debate on social and spatial justice in cities. The aim is to go beyond a narrow view of urban openness, too often confined to immigration and the accommodation of ethnic minorities in cities.

Social justice is understood in many ways. (See for example the websites of  the Institute of Social Justice Archives or Just Sustainabilities).

dia 1: social justice scales source: http://criticalspatialpractice.blogspot.com/2007_09_01_archive.html

Anthony Bradley for example identifies eight elements of social justice: love, human dignity, solidarity, flourishing social spheres, desert, reciprocity, need and equality.  http://bradley.chattablogs.com/archives/social-justice/

Spatial justice is a relative newcomer and a lot remains to be explored. Ed Soja is discussing it in Seeking Spatial Justice (2010 Minnesota University Press).

2 dia poster for Ed Soja lecture on spatial justice at UCLA.

Much before him David Harvey dealt with Social Justice and the City (1973  Arnold) and he continues to address the socio-political aspects of space in spatial fix and in many of his writings and talks.

3 dia David Harvey giving a lecture source http://spatialjustice.org/

Susan Feinstein deliberates these notions in Just City (2010 Cornell University Press). Others address the issue in a more ludic way like the installations at the Vienna Festival 2010 and on New York Broadway.

4 dia installation at Vienna Festival 2010. source: http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?q=spatial+justice&um=1&hl=en&client=firefox-a&sa=N&rls=org.mozilla:en-

5 dia 'Spatial justice' on Broadway New York source: google images

The notion of spatial justice has also entered the design professions.

6 dia analysing spatial justice source: http://spatialjustice.org/

I will concentrate on open cities and  justice in the city, and focus on how social justice is connected with spatial justice.