Title: Justice, Design and the City
Prof. Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris
Dean of the Luskin School of Public Affairs at UCLA
University of California, USA
Cities are sites of inclusion and exclusion. But few of the scholars who write about justice in the city consider the practices and processes of urban design. At the same time, discourses on urban design often neglect concerns about justice or the possibility of spatial interventions to change or create more just urban processes and outcomes. And yet, urban design interventions can have direct and important implications about justice in the city. This keynote talk will delineate the concepts of urban design for justice, the public city, inclusive urbanism, and design for difference, which compose the cornerstones of the recently published book Just Urban Design (MIT Press: 2022). The primary premise of the talk is that urban design can and must play an important and constructive role in the development of cities as a public good.
The talk will ground the theoretical discussion in empirical work by the author that shows how the unjust urban design of Los Angeles inner-city neighborhoods denies older inner-city residents some basic rights to the city. Walking in the company of older adults – mostly low-income immigrants – shows that their right to the city is severely compromised by dangerous and age-unfriendly sidewalks and public spaces. Still, certain urban design interventions can offer comfort and reduce the fears that many older adults feel when travelling the streets and sidewalks of their underprivileged neighborhoods.