Accepted Paper:

Urban Justice in Western and Post-Soviet Cities: Some Theoretical Remarks  


Evgenii Karchagin (Volgograd State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering)

Paper short abstract:

The paper discusses objects, subjects and possible principles of justice in the urban context. It also outlines two practical ways to overcome injustice in western and Post-Soviet Cities: revolutionary and communicative, theoretically represented by critical urbanism and STS.

Paper long abstract:

The paper discusses several theoretical aspects of the study of urban justice in western and Post-Soviet Cities. Urban justice seems to measure the proper order of social benefits and burdens in urban context. Objects of justice are benefits and burdens that circulate in the urban communities (the City itself, public space, urban toponymes, housing, transport infrastructure, etc.) There can be different situations of injustice, involving different human and non-human actors, and different subjects of urban justice (municipal authorities, citizens, civil society organizations and social movements, developers, investors, and others). According to the principle of fairness (equity and impartiality, required to accept the same right to life and well-being, which is recognized by each of oneself) the voices of these subjects should be equally considered in the development and decision-making, relating to the city's major problems. This general principle of fairness in the urban context gets the new meaning as the «right to the City». If there is domination by part of the voices, the disadvantaged subjects can feel the injustice of the situation. City officials are not the only subjects of justice in the urban space. The decisions of the authorities can be evaluated and criticized by those who are the recipients of these decisions - the ordinary citizens. There are two main practical ways to overcome the injustice, most clearly formulated in contemporary academic literature: revolutionary (neo-Marxist) and communicative, theoretically represented by critical urbanism and STS with its notion of urban assemblages.

Panel T108
Urban STS and Post-Socialist Cities