Centre of Expertise Just City

Addressing urban challenges through the lens of equity

Throughout its 750-year history, Amsterdam has continuously evolved. And while recent evolutions have enabled some to thrive, many others have been left behind. Access to basic necessities like housing, education, healthcare, public spaces and a liveable climate is unfortunately limited.

We all feel the inequity. But how can we recognise and acknowledge it? And how can we foster the knowledge, skills and practices to address every challenge in the city, viewed through the lens of equity?

Modern challenges raise questions about fairness, justice and equity. They require everyone in society to re-examine their ways of navigating the world. Through shared understanding and deeper insight, we strive for positive transformation, together with everyone who makes the city what it is.

A City for Everyone

The Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) has deep roots in Amsterdam. We strive to be as diverse and dynamic as the city itself. A place where everyone feels welcome, included and equal. We create connections that contribute to the vision of a city that truly belongs to everyone. At the Centre of Expertise Just City, we:

  • conduct research on equity in different contexts,
  • map a variety of perspectives on the topic and contexts,
  • develop methods for integrating equity into decision- and policy-making, and
  • share skills for dealing with differing perceptions and outcomes.

In everything we do, we work closely with residents, knowledge institutions, social organisations, administrators, the business community and our students to expand our impact together. Read more about our partners, networks and collaboration opportunities here.

Multi-faceted support for a complex issue

What makes a city equitable and just? The answer may be different for everyone. The reason why it is so essential to share and disseminate knowledge and information about equity, is precisely because it is difficult to define. From spatial justice to social and cultural justice. From climate/environmental justice to political justice. We aim to foster conversation and offer concrete tools that can help realise genuine equity in society.

Our focus areas

  1. We question the unequal distribution of (basic) necessities and focus on human rights, such as housing, public spaces, well-being, cultural expression, safety and free (physical) space.
  2. We work together to stimulate placemaking, renewal of democratic decision-making and inclusive processes. For example, through participation, commons, neighbourhood-oriented work and collaborative learning.
  3. We amplify voices that are often not heard. For us, this is about diversity, inclusion and social justice. About gathering and sharing stories. About setting aside data points and checklists and acknowledging the humans behind them.
  4. We are keen to create space for more radical changes or questions. We encourage rethinking and paradigm shifts. We are open to exploring and experimenting with various forms of equity and how to deal with the lack thereof. For example, with distributive justice, digital equity or fair language.

The neighbourhood is our laboratory

Our workspace is the places in the city where equity and fairness are at stake. We operate in the city, in neighbourhoods and with each other. We ponder significant questions, like why people in one neighbourhood live an average of seven years longer than in another. And we go in search of answers that foster change.

We also focus on places where change is already making a subtle, yet significant impact. Incredible spaces where motivated, optimistic and dedicated people collaborate. Think, here, of cooperatives, refugee centres or joint business investment zones. We gently explore how these places and their ways of working can enable positive transformation throughout our shared city.

Published by  Just City 26 March 2024