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.
- Public land ownership
- 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. The recent bankruptcy of Detroit was a major shock. It is hard to imagine in any western European city that National government would let a major city simply go bankrupt.