The Just City Essays eBook: Visions for Urban Equity, Inclusivity and Opportunity



Over the past decade, there have been numerous conversations
about the “livable city,” the “green city,” the “sustainable city” and, most
recently, the “resilient city.” At the same time, today’s headlines—from
Ferguson to Baltimore, Paris to Johannesburg—resound with the need for frank
dialogue about the structures and processes that affect the quality of life and
livelihoods of urban residents. Issues of equity, inclusion, race,
participation, access and ownership remain unresolved in many communities around
the world, even as we begin to address the challenges of affordability, climate
change adaptation and resilience. The persistence of injustice in the world’s
cities—dramatic inequality, unequal environmental burdens and risks, and uneven
access to opportunity—demands a continued and reinvigorated search for ideas
and solutions.

Our organizations, The J. Max Bond Center on
Design for the Just City at the City College of New York,
 The Nature of Cities, and Next City,
have built our respective missions around creating and disseminating knowledge,
reporting and analysis of the contemporary city. All three organizations offer
platforms for thought leaders and grassroots activists who are working to
identify both aspirational and practical strategies for building livable,
sustainable, resilient and just cities. Our shared values brought us together
to produce the first volume of The Just City Essays.

The outreach to our invited 24 authors began with two
straightforward questions: what would a just city look like, and what could be
strategies to get there? We raised these questions to architects, mayors,
artists, doctors, designers, scholars, philanthropists, ecologists, urban
planners, and community activists. Their responses came to us from 22 cities
across five continents and myriad vantages. Each offers a distinct perspective
rooted in a particular place or practice. Each is meant as a provocation—a call
to action. You will notice common threads as well as notes of dissonance. Just
like any urban fabric, heterogeneity reigns.

Remember, this project began with questions, not answers. We
hope this collection will inspire, and also be read as an invitation to imagine
a city where urban justice may still be still unrealized, yet is urgently
desired in the dreams of so many. The dialogue is only beginning, and much work
remains to be done in cities across the world.

All the essays are published
individually at The Nature of Cities and NextCity. 

The full eBook is available in
various formats—iBook, Nook, etc.—at:

Right to the City for All:  A Manifesto for Social Justice in an Urban Century, Lorena Zárate

To join the conversation, please weigh in on our comment section
at the bottom of this page, on 
Facebook using the hashtag #justcity.