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.