Centre of Expertise Just City launching on 16 November

The AUAS wants its Centre of Expertise to contribute to an inclusive city

10 Oct 2023 12:00 | Urban Governance

The Urban Governance and Social Innovation Centre of Expertise has been given a new name: Just City. The Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) will in the coming years in this Centre of Expertise (CoE) focus on applied research and education related to inequality and the distribution of scarcity and abundance, as well as the best practices and challenges in Amsterdam society. This will also involve safeguarding the rights of every city inhabitant and ensuring equal access to procedures and systems. We will celebrate the start of this new phase at Ru Paré Community in Amsterdam on 16 November, and warmly invite you to join us.

Justice as a perspective for every challenge in the city

Amsterdam has been a dynamic city for 750 years, but the developments of recent years have made it a city that is unable to accommodate everyone. Basic services such as housing, education, care, public spaces and pleasant living conditions are under pressure. We all feel that there is injustice in gaining access to these resources, but the question is how can we recognise and acknowledge these injustices? And how can we develop the knowledge, skills and methods to use justice as a perspective to view any challenge in the city? Marije Poel, CoE programme manager, explains: “Many of today's crises require fundamental social change and raise questions about justice. We want to ensure that our students, as well as inhabitants and all who together make the city, can tackle those questions in an informed way.”

A city for all

The AUAS is deeply rooted in Amsterdam and strives to be a reflection of the city. We therefore want to contribute to the idea that the city belongs to everyone. The Centre of Expertise will:

  • conduct research into many aspects of justice, and identify the various perspectives on justice;
  • develop methods for including justice in decision-making and policy-making;
  • develop skills for dealing with conflicting perspectives.

We cannot do this alone, and will therefore collaborate with the city’s inhabitants, knowledge institutions, civil society organisations, administrators, the business community and our students. A good example of this is the Just City course of the Public Administration Bachelor’s programme, set up in collaboration with Munish Ramlal, ombudsman of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area. Ramlal says: “Students from the AUAS go undercover at the Municipality of Amsterdam. They investigate the services of the municipality as mystery guests. With the results of their research we want to improve the accessibility of important public services for inhabitants. In this way we work together towards justice for all of Amsterdam‘s inhabitants.”

Two scientific directors

Julie Ferguson, Associate Professor of Coordination of Urban Issues, and Lex Veldboer, Professor of Urban Social Work, together fulfil the role of Scientific Director of the Centre of Expertise Just City. They will develop and monitor its knowledge base, and use their networks and expertise to establish new collaborative partnerships.

16 November: launch event at Ru Paré Community

On 16 November from 13:00 – 17:30 we will host Just.City.Amsterdam.2023, an afternoon of workshops, lectures, discussions and networking. Writers, poets, researchers, entrepreneurs, students, administrators and neighbourhood organisations from across the city will all contribute to the programme. It is an afternoon designed to inspire each other, develop perspectives on a just city and find out how we can work together to achieve it.

What is a Centre of Expertise?

Centres of Expertise are public-private (or public-public) partnerships between universities of applied sciences and the professional field, with a clear focus on social issues. The Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences is the initiator and/or involved in seven Centres of Expertise that work on a wide variety of issues.