Social Justice Application Approaches

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The new millennium dawned with half of the world’s population living in cities, and experts forecast that by 2050 the world’s urbanization rate will reach 65%. Cities are potentially territories with vast economic, environmental, political and cultural wealth and diversity Tint (2005) (October 2004)). The urban way of life influences the way in which we link with our fellow human beings and with the territory.

General problem to cities: The majority of the urban population is deprived or limited – in virtue of their economic, social, cultural, ethnic, gender or age characteristics – in the satisfaction of their most elemental needs and rights. Public policies that contribute to this by ignoring the contributions of the popular inhabiting processes to the construction of the city and citizenship, are only detrimental to urban life.

General solution to city problems: In the face of this reality, and the need to counter its trends, urban organizations and movements linking together since the First World Social Forum (2001) have discussed and assumed the challenge to build a sustainable model of society and urban life, based on the principles of solidarity, freedom, equity, dignity, and social justice, and founded in respect for different urban cultures and balance between the urban and the rural.

In the city and its rural surroundings, the correlation between these rights and their necessary counterpart of duties can be demanded in accordance with the different responsibilities and socio-economic conditions of its inhabitants, as a form of promotion of: just distribution of the benefits and responsibilities resulting from the urbanization process; fulfillment of the social functions of the city and of property; distribution of urban income; and democratization of access to land and public services for all citizens, especially those with less economic resources and in situations of vulnerability. Solutions by Rich countries: In the USA, to date around 500 communities have adopted inclusionary housing practices (Jacobus, 2015), as is the case in many European countries (Oxley et al., 2009; Cativa, 2006).

The model used has differed substantially, varying from the typical US model of mandatory or incentive-based zoning requirements to the more flexible negotiation process (which is guided by national and municipal policy) (Hickey et al., 2014) that occurs in the UK through the Section 106 agreements (Oxley et al., 2009). Certain systems also require that a percentage of the dwelling units in a proposed development be set aside for lower income families, whereas other systems require the developer to pay a fee, which is used by the municipality (or the developer) to fund an offsite development for lower income households (Hollingshead, 2015).

Problems faced by poor countries: However, contrary to these potentials, the development models implemented in the majority of impoverished countries are characterized by the tendency to concentrate income and power, generating poverty and exclusion, contributing to environmental degradation, and accelerating migration and urbanization processes, social and spatial segregation, and privatization of common goods and public spaces. These processes favor proliferation of vast urban areas marked by poverty, precarious conditions, and vulnerability to natural disasters.

Literature Review

Therefore; for this essay I will define social justice as the explicit recognition of structural inequalities in the world (along class, race, gender, institutional and other lines) and therefore the need for proactive, structural programs to counteract these inequalities. The language of social justice speaks spoke of civil rights, poverty, discrimination, underdevelopment, racism, empowerment, disenfranchisement, violence, access; while others bring the culture and values of community development and social equity, informed by the civil rights, labour and feminist movements.

The priorities of social justice are, in essence, collectively confronting the damaging consequences of “uneven development”: both in the standard political economic sense (the uneven distribution of economic resources) and in the environmental sense (an uneven development of human versus non-human habitats, resource use, and allocation of environmental hazards).

Urban planning is distinct from other policies as it has its own specific demands. Planners focus their work on the broader distributional consequences of urban land uses, local economic activity, municipal governance, housing, transportation access and public services. Within planning, the social justice movement draws significantly on the civil rights, labor, feminist and community development traditions as well as the advocacy planning/community activist tradition of the 1960s and the equity planning tradition of the 1970s, and ultimately on planning’s roots in the Progressive Era and housing reform efforts. Social justice, the core distinction is often between city and suburb, between the global North and South, between the socially marginalized and the elites.

Lack of social Justice isssues: The current patterns of inequality, racial and wealth polarisation, in the post-apartheid city, continue and are exacerbated by the emergence and rapid increase of gated communities (Naicker, 2014).” Noting this, the project of identifying how to reverse and combat these patterns of spatial inequality, and in so doing, creating a spatially just urban form, is of utmost importance.

Parnell and Pieterse (2010), arguing that the continuation of systems of informality and traditional leadership, and a ‘fast-tracking’ of development processes for public housing, exclude the poor from the potential benefits of the LUM system (e.g. protection from hazards, nuisance, and reservation of land for higher order functions such as schools, libraries, and protection of land values etc. Zach et al. (2007) argue similarly that the lack of regulation excludes the poor from the area-based services of the city and the possibility of using property ownership for asset creation.

Social justice solutions to city problems: As its primary purpose, the city should exercise a social function, guaranteeing for all its inhabitants full usufruct of the resources offered by the city. In other words, the city must assume the realization of projects and investments to the benefit of the urban community as a whole, within criteria of distributive equity, economic complementarity, respect for culture, and ecological sustainability, to guarantee the well-being of all its inhabitants, in harmony with nature, for the present and for future generations.

The public and private spaces and goods of the city and its citizens should be used prioritizing social, cultural, and environmental interests. All the citizens have the right to participate in the ownership of the urban territory within democratic parameters, with social justice and within sustainabl

Comparison of cities Comparative urban studies emerged as a focus of attention particularly from the late 1960s (e.g. Pahl, 1968; Meadows and Mizruchi, 1969; Tilly, 1974. Much of this research either compared cities as distinct units or their urban national contexts with the aim of explaining similarities or differences between them. This included an engagement by urban anthropologists with the work of the Chicago School, which argued, for example, that the formation of central urban areas is not a universally similar process, but a varied and complicated set of histories (Robinson, 2006).

The net result of this tendency is that comparison — always a relation of similarity and difference — is conducted less on the basis of differences and more on the basis of similarities (Kantor and Savitch, 2005). One way around this is to focus on comparison as a means of learning through differences, rather than seeking out similarities. These include research:

  • comparing one city with several, including Amelang (2007) on Barcelona, and Nijman (2007b) on Miami;
  • comparing two cities, including Huchzermeyer (2007) on the production of informal settlements in São Paulo and Cape Town, and Oliveira (1996) on the role of race and class in ghetto and favela formation in NewYork and Rio de Janeiro;
  • exploring how specific processes or features recur or diverge in different cities, including Dick and Rimmer (1998) on the blurring of ‘First World’ or ‘Third World city’ through new and changing patterns of wealth and poverty, connection and disconnection, Gugler (2004) on world cities in the South, King (2004) on architecture, design and culture, Roy (2003; 2005) on planning and citizenship across North and South, and Smith (2002) on gentrification as a ‘global urban strategy’;
  • and research outlining a typology or exploring frameworks for comparative urban research, including Brenner (2001); Robinson (2006); Nijman (2007a); Ward (2008). Comparison is often distinguished empirically and theoretically (Osborne, 2005). Empirically, debates around urban comparison explore comparison as explicit method, and generally focus on three domains: practical, methodological and typological.

Analytical Framework

Based on how it is defined in the literature, what three concepts will YOU use to define “social justice” in this essay?

A shift from a top-down centralized approach to “integrated, cooperative long-term strategic spatial development planning by all three spheres of government in a proactive, developmentally minded state (Van Wyk and Oranje, 2014: 357). ”

A shift from a technocratic based approach to land use management, to an approach guided by normative principles (Van Wyk and Oranje, 2014). A land use scheme must give effect to and be consistent with the municipal spatial development framework and determine the use and development of land within the municipal area to which it relates in order to promote—economic growth; social inclusion; efficient land development; and minimal impact on public health, the environment and natural resources.

This includes inculcating the spirit of entrepreneurship in schools, lowering the cost of doing business in the economy, and reducing barriers to entry in various value chains (National Planning Commission, 2012: 139). ” The goal of creating socially just formal retail areas clearly fits within the broader ambit of this goal.

What is important to note is that the model used, and perfor-mance thereof, has differed significantly from place to place. Some of the common elements that have been identified as key to the success of inclusive zoning programs are the following:

  • Inclusionary housing programs need to focus both on the creation of new units, and preservation of existing affordable units. If this does not occur, over time existing affordable housing units may become unaffordable to the desired target market (Hickey et al., 2014).
  • Mandatory programs produce more housing than voluntary inclusionary housing programs (Brunick, 2004).
  • Under weak market conditions inclusionary zoning regulations should be relaxed to allow the market to recover, and in general, inclusionary zoning policies should be drafted in such a way that they are sensitive to the local land market (Kroll et al., 2010; Mukhija et al., 2015).
  • A policy focusing on on-site provision of affordable units, as opposed to payment of a fee for provision of affordable units is likely to result in superior outcomes (Hollingshead, 2015). . It must however be noted that there has been limited literature on how this can be achieved, with the exception of the literature focus-ing on street trading and public markets (Hunter and Skinner, 2003; Lund and Skinner, 2004; Skinner, 2008; Dewar, 2005; Rogerson,2008).

New York has been experimenting with the idea of incen-tivising the inclusion of grocery stores in retail developments in areas that lack stores which sell fresh produce. The mechanism to achieve this is a zoning incentive that permits grocery stores in apartment blocks and which compensates for the lost residen-tial space by permitting additional floor space in the building that is equal to the total area of the grocery store in the said building (New York, N.Y., Zoning Res. §§ 62-00–63-60).

Barcelona in its @22 innovation district allowed extra bulk for city blocks on the proviso that they agree to allow 20% of the building to be used for activities that comply with @22 sectors. Further, 10% of the land transformed must be given over to facilities related to the productive sector – including training, research and dissemination activities for new technologies – and a further 10% of the industrial land to be given over to new green spaces (@22 Barcelona ND). While these incentives differ in focus and model to the proposed inclusive example, they provide working and successful examples of how zoning can be used to promote inclusive economic development.

This model also draws on the lessons learnt from the residential inclusionary zoning practices. Namely, it relies on mandatory over incentive-based measures (Brunick, 2004), and focuses on on-site provision of retail facilities, particularly in areas of high pedestrian traffic, as opposed to letting the developer pay a fee or develop an offsite facility (Hollingshead, 2015). In addition, the linking of the rental rate to the rental rate of the least expensive shop. development ensures the continued affordability of the proposed structures for informal traders and microenterprises (Kroll et al., 2010).


While their edited collection includes examples from across the world, the general tendency in comparative urban research has been to compare urban spaces within or between Western Europe and North America, or key ‘global cities’ like London, New York and Tokyo (Sassen, 2002; Kantor and Savitch, 2005).

Janet AbuLughod’s (1991) comparative work on cities is a strong example here. She has argued that urban dynamics can only be understood in the context of historical analysis with a long-term perspective. She has progressed by, first, understanding the long historical trajectories in cities, and, second, comparing how these trajectories differ and building insight from that basis.

Cite this paper

Social Justice Application Approaches. (2021, Jan 27). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/social-justice-application-approaches/

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