Spatial Justice in the City Workshop by Sophie Watson


A joint workshop between the Open University CRESC Urban Experiments and the Centre for Urban and Community Research Goldsmiths

A workshop jointly convened by CRESC OU and CUCR Goldsmiths and funded by the ESRC took place between June 30th– July 1 2016 Open University, Milton Keynes.

Spatial justice has been central to urban theorists in various ways. Intricately connected to social justice it is a term implicated in relations of power which concerns the distribution of resources, rights and materials over space. Arguably there can be no notion of social justice that is not spatial. In his book on Spatial Justice Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos (2014), argues that spatial justice is the struggle of various bodies – human, natural, non-organic, technological – to occupy a certain space at a certain time.

Urban planning and policy interventions to some extent are always, in part, about spatial justice, even when not stated as such. Spatial injustice takes many forms – invisible and visible – which can be explored through many different theoretical and empirical frames. As cities become ever more unequal, it is crucial that urbanists address questions of spatial justice in the city. This workshop of scholars from the Open University, Centre for Urban and Community Research, Goldsmiths College and several other institutions provided an opportunity to consider these questions from a range of disciplinary perspectives.

Many themes were discussed revolving around different interpretations of spatial justice in the city from the socio- cultural and spatial effects of different patterns of migration, including the Chinese in London, to questions of gender and self defence in the city. Spatial justice will underpin an edited collection of the papers from the workshop for publication.

The topics of the workshop and participants were as follows:

Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos Spatial Justice: the violence of space

Elaine Campbell Unruly cities: subjectivities, materialities and riotous assemblages

Francisco Calafate-Faria From “Rights to the City” to “Urban Rights”: the city as the material of politics rather than an object of rights

Gary Bridge Justice claims and practical reason: a pragmatist perspective

Emma Jackson The choreography of everyday multi-culture: bowling together? 

Sophie Watson Questioning Discourses of Harmony

Caroline Knowles Notes on Chinese London

Alex Rhys Taylor The relationship between sensibility and spatial justice

Christian Borch Algorithmic Finance and Spatial Justice in the City

Michaela Benson Retiring to paradise: the middle classes, lifestyle migration and the internationalisation of property markets

Francis Dodsworth Fighting for the right to the streets: gender, self-defence and urban space

Rachel Dobson Regulatory Interventions in Practice

David Herbert Lefebvre and Instagram: Spatial justice in the network society

Alison Rooke Nine Urban Biotopes: Negotiating the Future of Urban Living

Olga Sezneva Displacement, Dispossession, Affect. The circulation of Koenigsberg’s material culture in the contemporary Kaliningrad.

Sophie Watson is Professor of Sociology at Open University and Visiting Professor at Centre for Urban and Community Research, Goldsmiths, University of London.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s