Just Sustainabilities


This post is simply a teaser for the video below. Prof. Julian Agyeman’s lecture is thought-provoking. I just want to share a few things that stood out for me:

  • One of his core ideas is the concept of spatial justice. If you think about social justice, it means that everybody has the same opportunities and human rights independent of their social status. Spatial justice requires those same opportunities and rights to be distributed geographically.
  • The observation about how kids are wired differently in different streetscapes.
  • Challenging urban planning to be about what is possible, not about what is probable.
  • Contact theory makes a clear distinction between multicultural and intercultural cities. A multicultural city holds several cultures but they are not necessarily integrated. The more contact we have with different groups, the more we will become understanding of those groups. Social and cultural diversity foster empathy.
  • Another challenge: Complete streets? Physically yes, but socially?
  • The idea that urban greening is, in fact, urban whitening. Meaning that in many cases BIPOC communities are pushed out of those green developments.
  • The curb-cut effect where disability-friendly features end up being used and appreciated by a larger group than the people they were designed for. The curb-cut effect shows that those features are inclusive because they create opportunities for minority groups and they are beneficial to many more.
  • A call to consider the design, manage and programming of urban parks with an equity lens.
  • And the need for deep ethnographies in our neighbourhoods.

Enjoy the video! What else do you see? Feel free to share.

Julian Agyeman Ph.D. FRSA FRGS is a Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University. His lecture “Just Sustainabilities in Urban Planning, Policy and Practice” was organized by the University of Waterloo and broadcasted live on January 26, 2021.


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