Sustainable and Just Cities

Sustainable cities are about upholding social justice, ecological resilience and economic vitality for current and future generations. Many social movements and organizations across the world, including activists, entrepreneurs, researchers, policy-makers and other citizen, are collaborating to create more sustainable and just cities. They are striving for access to basic needs (e.g. housing, energy, water, food, healthcare), while also respecting future generations and other living creatures.

In this sub-theme, we critically engage with these movements through interdisciplinary research. We take complex political interlinkages between ecological, social and economic challenges in urban contexts as a fundamental starting point. What are the challenges and tensions between ecological sustainability and socio-economic justice? How can we ensure that sustainable cities are also just cities? How are people and networks empowered to transform their cities into more sustainable and just environments?

Theme Lead

  • Flor Avelino

    Flor Avelino works at DRIFT as senior researcher in the politics of sustainability transitions and social innovation. She specialises in power and empowerment theories, and is involved in research projects on transformative social innovation (TRANSIT), sustainable & just cities (UrbanA) and social innovation in energy transitions (SONNET & PROSEU).

To tackle today’s urban challenges, we need systemic, transformative change that challenges, alters and replaces current power structures of inequality, exclusion, oppression and extractivism. There is no point in talking about sustainable cities without addressing these issues of (in)justice and power.

Event series 

Researchers across the Erasmus University are starting a collaboration to deepen, translate and connect knowledge and practice on just sustainability transitions. We invite everyone that is (or wants to be) working on the intersections of justice, sustainability and transformative change, to join our international event series. Below you can read the blogposts that summarize the main insights from each webinar.

  1. Event #1: Webinar What does a just transition to solve climate change by 2030 look like? With dr. Shivant Jhagroe (Leiden University), dr. Katharina Hölscher (DRIFT) and Mara de Pater (DRIFT)  
  2. Event #2: Book discussion Diversifying Power? Energy & Climate Justice with Jennie C. Stephens, Darren McCauley, Julia Wittmayer and Flor Avelino
  3. Event #3: "Urban Environmental Justice & Green Gentrification" with prof. Dr. Isabelle Anguelovski and Dr. Panagiota Kotsila (BCNUEJ)
  4. Event #4: Making Online Meetings Just & Sustainable: How can online meetings contribute to just sustainability transitions? with Karlijn Schipper (DRIFT), Lucia Paola (UrbanA, ICLEI), Vaishali Joshi (ESSB, VCC) and dr. Flor Avelino

Upcoming events

  1. Event #5: To be announced

Mapping knowledge & practice for sustainable just cities

Networks for Sustainable and Just Cities

Urban Arena Podcast with Flor Avelino

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