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TitleSearching for the Just City: Debates in Urban Theory and Practice
ISBN 139780415776134
File Size5.6 MB
Total Pages285
Document Text Contents
Page 143

geography of planned cities still deeply fragmented by class, forming the foun-

dation for long-term inequalities (Marcuse 1978; Troy 1981; Badcock 1984).

A common theme links the state, and hence planning, with a privileged facil-

itation of capitalist demands, and a purposeful neglect of social needs, in

what Marcuse (1978) perceptively termed “the myth of the benevolent state.”

It was on the basis of such critical analyses that an “urban” justice litera-

ture began to emerge as an attempt to rethink the links between space, devel-

opment, power, and planning. David Harvey’s (1973) Social Justice and the

City and Manuel Castells’ (1978) The Urban Question served as inspiring texts

for a new generation of urban researchers seeking ways to realize “a just dis-

tribution, justly arrived at” (Harvey 1973: 97). Claims advanced by the new

“justice literature” caused intense, often bitter, debates among planning and

urban scholars, especially between Marxian and rationalist/liberal thinkers.

Yet both camps agreed that planning was essentially about the process of

distributing material resources.

However, the apparent agreement over the parameters of just planning

did not last. During the 1980s and 1990s, new claims for a Just City began

to appear, challenging previous accounts and taking the analysis of urban

justice to new spheres. In the main, three related and partially overlapping

perspectives informed these challenges: identity, feminism, and postmodernism.

The new wave gave rise to seminal works such as Iris Marian Young’s Justice

and the Politics of Difference (1991); Leonie Sandercock’s Cosmopolis (1998),

and Jane Jacobs’ Edge of Empire (1996). These works demonstrated the

necessity of accounting for issues of difference and identity in order to both

understand the emerging urban order and to reformulate visions of urban and

spatial justice.

Other studies during this wave took planning theory outside the liberal

West and highlighted the close links between ethno-nationalism, religion, the

state, and the making of cities and regions. They explored the critical role

of urban policy in shaping not only class but also ethnic, cultural, and racial

relations, in which space is a critical axis (Falah 1989; Yiftachel 1991; Thomas

1995; Bollen 1999, 2007). This is particularly so in “ethnocratic” régimes,

which work to enhance the position of a dominant ethnic group while

actively marginalizing minorities and peripheral ethno-classes (see Kedar 2003;

Yiftachel 2007). Other studies have shown the centrality of race to urban

structure and segregation and from these to notions of corrective justice and

improved terms of collective coexistence (Thomas and Krishnarayan 1993;

Sandercock 1995; Massey 2007).

The main consequence of this discussion was the introduction of new

categories and entities into the vocabulary and imagination of the Just City

concept, most notably “recognition,” “diversity,” “difference,” and “multi-

culturalism.” Urban and planning theorists did not have to travel far in search

of inspiring texts, with the works of Taylor (1992), Hall (1991), hooks (1995),

and Kymlicka (1995) offering new philosophical and political foundations

for rethinking the just multicultural city.

122 Oren Yiftachel, Ravit Goldhaber, and Roy Nuriel

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