“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
When growing up in Bogota’s urban periphery, I was frequently exposed to the effects of inequality in urban environments. Bogota is a city where the urban divide between different social groups (by socioeconomic status, ethnicity, gender, etc.) defines your access to opportunities in life. If you are born in the underprivileged areas of the city, you will have poor access to public spaces, leisure and cultural activities. You will probably have access to lower quality of education, and you will be more likely to get a worst-paid job than people living in the”rich” areas of the city. However, this is not something exclusive from Bogota, the effects of inequality can be felt all around the world. In a strange way, the place you live in, define 60% of your opportunities in life, whether you were born in an urban or a rural area, or if you were born in a “rich” country” or a “poor” country.
For me, this urban divide was never logical and never will be. I have never been able to fully understand the normalisation of inequalities, the acceptance of a society where different groups have intrinsic advantages over others or the idea that we can’t create something better. I believe that cities should be built as places that contribute to the happiness and the fulfillment of all the inhabitants. I believe that the persistence of injustice in the world’s cities—dramatic inequality, unequal environmental burdens and risks, and uneven access to opportunity—demands a continued and reinvigorated search for ideas and solutions.
This is why I decided to create Just Cities, a movement, a community, a blog, a space to talk about those issues that should be at the centre of urban policy-making. This is a place where we will talk about social justice, environmental sustainability, inclusion, urban planning, transport, human development, and all those things that day to day, define our quality of life and our existence as a society. I believe that by sharing knowledge, opening the debate, influencing policy-makers and offering a new point of view on day-to-day issues, I will be able to create a small difference in our world.
How will Just Cities work?
Just cities will be a community for everyone, especially for those who feel underrepresented in the decision-making process of urban policies. The objective is to share knowledge, empower communities, and influence policy-making. The more you share our content, the more likely we are to be heard by relevant authorities and make an impact in the way our urban environments are being planned.
Just cities will be developed under the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals. We believe that this is a movement that will contribute to achieve peace and prosperity for people and the planet.
You can expect regular posts submitted every week discussing a relevant topic. Posts will be mainly in English, but other languages are welcome. Contributions from guest writers are invited as well as great ideas and suggestions for the blog.
Just Cities is for you
If you wish to get in touch about this initiative or any content that may appear on it, please contact me or follow me on twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn
Last but not least, let’s start making change! Answer to this question in the comments section:
What would a just city look like to you?
2 thoughts on “Join me in the journey to creating Just Cities”
For me a just city would combine technological innovation with efficient communication among citizens, government, industry and Academia to promote new ways to redistribute wealth within the city.
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Thanks for your response Nicolas. You make a great point about the use of technological innovation and efficient communication. We need to make use of these tools in the best possible way. There are already many initiatives that leverage technology for greater purposes. However, it’s not only about redistributing wealth, because poverty is just one aspect of unjust societies.