Posts Tagged Susan Fainstein

Amsterdam Case study | The Just City

I was reading through the concept presented by Susan Fainstein “The Just City”. I found it quite interesting. Previously, I summarized her idea of Just city concept, where I mentioned that she conducted three casestudies namely New York, London and Amsterdam. She studied these cities and evaluated them in terms of three core principles namely Equality, Democracy and Diversity. She found Amsterdam as being the closest to the model of the Just City.

She recently visited Amsterdam in 2010 and the changing conditions in the city really got her worried. She poses a question in one of her recent lectures.

Can Amsterdam continue to be a just city? Can it withstand financial crisis, anti-immigrant sentiments, neo-liberal attack?

Explanation why she is concerned about Amsterdam continuing to being a Just City

In Amsterdam, one of the things that have occurred is the reduction in the flow of resources coming in from the national government. One of the arguments she makes in the book “The Just City” is that there were only two major factors that allowed Amsterdam to be so successful in attaining its goals of justice. Those following this are used to using the phone to dial Uk Contact Numbers.

Amsterdam casestudy

Amsterdam casestudy

  1. Public land ownership
  2. 90% of the budget in the city would come from the National government so that it could decide what it was going to with it. Also, it didn’t have tax its own citizens in order to have sufficient capital. She compares American cities to Amsterdam. American cities get relatively small part of their finance from the National government, they didn’t need a cash now with alternative credit check. The recent bankruptcy of Detroit was a major shock some people have to look for other options of banking online, like take an overview of Capital One credit cards, always trying to avoid unsecured loan bad credit offers. It is hard to imagine in any western European city that National government would let a major city simply go bankrupt.


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The Concept of “The Just City”

Urban Theory of Social Justice by Susan Fainstein

Susan Fainstein is a professor of urban planning at Harvard. She wanted to achieve social justice within the context of urban planning. She had a vision of creating a city where public investment and regulation would produce equitable outcomes rather than support the wealthy.

There were a lot of social theories that came round in 1970s. She says that there were excellent theories of justice but none of them talked about justice. One of the political philosophers she mentions is John Rawl. She got an opportunity to interview one of the philosophers and she asked her if the theories of social justice worked in the real world to which the philosopher replied that she was a philosopher and did not worry if the theory worked in the real world or not. So Fainstein says that she is an urban planner and would have to worry about the working of social theories in the real world.

Amsterdam - The Just City Model

Amsterdam – The Just City Model

This inspired her to come up with an urban theory of social justice. She coined the term “The Just City”. She says, the just city does not necessarily mean a good city because a good city would have many more attributes than just the three central principles proposed by her.

The three central concepts proposed by Fainstein that would constitute “The Just City” are:

  1. Equality
  2. Democracy
  3. Diversity

She conducted three casestudies namely New York, London and Amsterdam and studied them in detail with respect to these three central concepts. She was of the view that New York was very close to the third principle i.e. Diversity but was distant from the first two principles namely Equality and Democracy. London had Diversity and Democracy but lacked Equality. She was of the view that Amsterdam was the closest we could possibly get to an ideal just city. She says Amsterdam was a more equal city than it is now.


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