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.