The Revival of the Just City

A planning and design methodology that allows steering complex urban development and contributes to the revival of the Just City that Amsterdam once was

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Inequality in the city of Amsterdam is growing. While in the 70s, the city was described as a prime example of a Just City, the contemporary metropolis is growing as a city of the elite. Neoliberal planning in recent decades has focused on attracting knowledge workers to Amsterdam with a strategy of privatization, deregulation and decentralization. Not only has this led to a situation where access to the municipality for lower-income groups is compromised, but also to a complex development environment where democratic decision-making is vulnerable.

The problems of inequality and undemocratic decision-making in the Amsterdam region call for a new understanding of how to redesign for a Just City, in which spatial justice and inclusive decision-making is protected. Therefore, this thesis research proposes a refined methodology that enables understanding contemporary demands for spatial justice and translating these demands into spatial design. A framework is developed that provides an overview of planning and design principles that must be protected during the development of a Just City. Furthermore, a 5-Step Methodology is being created that urban planners may use to translate these principles into spatial designs. With these instruments, the research contributes to academic knowledge about planning for justice and steering complex urban development.

Although (spatial) justice is a value that may never be fully obtained and the fluid definition of a Just City is always evolving, the products of this research contribute to the political discourse on planning for justice and equity. The results may be further developed by integrating different academic disciplines and the perspectives of multiple stakeholders in its progress. Moreover, the performance of the methodology may be explored further by experimenting with it in a practical setting.