A vision for inclusive and fair sustainability transitions in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area (AMA)

Spatial Stra­te­gies for the Just City
TU Delft
Associate. Prof. Dr. Roberto Rocco
Luiz Marcos de Carvalho Filho
Urban Region Networks, Ruimtelijke Planning en Strategie

Cities and urban regions in Europe, and around the world, are provi­ders of vital ecosys­tems for deve­lo­p­ment, social and tech­no­lo­gical inno­va­tion, and human progress. At the same time, however, cities magnify the intert­wined social, economic and envi­ron­mental chal­lenges of today and tomorrow. Moreover, the mani­fes­ta­tion of those chal­lenges in the urban context is very uneven, due to deepe­ning socio-economic and spatial inequalities.


Socio-economic and spatial inequa­li­ties under­mine the Euro­pean project’s core objec­tives of social, economic and terri­to­rial cohe­sion, and the EU’s stra­tegic goal of smart, sustainable and inclu­sive growth, while fuel­ling support for popu­list move­ments and anti-EU senti­ment. Justice and inju­s­tice in the distri­bu­tion of the burdens and bene­fits of deve­lo­p­ment are reflected in the urban geography of cities and regions. Cruci­ally, diffe­rent social groups expe­ri­ence the effects of these processes in very diffe­rent ways. The expe­ri­ence of justice and inju­s­tice in the city is deeply connected to the affor­dances and limi­ta­tions offered by urban spaces, struc­tures and infrastructures.


The EMU fall semester addressed these chal­lenges by inte­gra­ting concepts of justice and sustaina­bi­lity into socio-tech­nical tran­si­tions thin­king, in order to formu­late stra­te­gies for inclu­sive, parti­ci­pa­tory and fair urban envi­ron­ments. It does so by explo­ring and opera­tio­na­li­sing of the concept of spatial justice, iden­ti­fying the spatial drivers of inequa­lity, setting up bench­marks for spati­ally just and envi­ron­men­tally sound policy and spatial design, through an under­stan­ding of the human, tech­nical and natural systems that make up the so-called Amsterdam Metro­po­litan Area. It explores those systems to find ways to design fairer and more inclu­sive policy for three burning chal­lenges of cities today, each of which have a major impact on inequa­li­ties and socio-spatial justice: 1) climate change, 2) housing commo­di­fi­ca­tion; and 3) shif­ting urban economies.