Spatial Justice Network

This network seeks to develop an international and interdisciplinary Spatial Justice community to advance the theory of spatial justice through the development of concepts and methods by which spatial justice can be explored individually and comparatively. This network builds upon existing (but limited) research on spatial justice through the inclusion of scholars/researchers engaged in spatial justice research from across the globe. Through a united, directed and organised network the goal of advancing the field of study related to spatial justice can be reached.

For the past several decades, spatial justice has been presented as a conceptual framework to understand and address the grave inequalities facing cities, countries and continents. However, while the concept holds much promise, the theory of spatial justice is under explored and the methods by which spatial justice can be studied are in need of development. The SJ Network is envisioned to be an entity that will develop conceptual and methodological innovations in spatial justice research through a collaborative process which engages scholars and researchers from around the world (currently over 90 scholars/researchers at 30 institutions intend to participate). The SJ Network will contribute to the development of new research and educational practices that will expand the concept of spatial justice, bringing it into curriculums around the world in a coordinated way. Specifically, the SJ Network will seek to build knowledge in the following areas: best practices for support of spatial justice education and practice; respectful ways to do community-based research using both qualitative and quantitative scientific research methods; research projects that are community inspired and of significance for communities of color and disadvantaged communities; and innovative undergraduate and graduate development programs and strategies. These activities will lead to a fuller understanding of the theory of spatial justice, develop new methodologies for applying/examining spatial justice and establish a mechanism by which spatial justice can be measured. The use of interdisciplinary and international collaboration envisioned in this RCN will result in the creation of a comparative model through which spatial justice can be more fully explored, and generate a repository of ideas and methodologies for teaching, learning and researching spatial justice.

What are the public challenges we must face together?

Why a Spatial Justice network?

Russell Smith

The network will have broader impact on education, training and research by 1) connecting a variety of disciplines across different campuses around the world on the theme of spatial justice (network participants include geographers, historians, engineers, sociologists, GIS specialists, political scientists, legal scholars, and others), 2) disseminating the resulting ideas, methods and tools developed to the appropriate scientific communities through project website, publications in referred journals, policy briefs, edited books, presentations (including student research presentations) at state, national and international conferences, 3) involving undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral students in challenging research/discussions on an emerging issue that is of growing importance across the globe, 4) providing valuable education, teaching materials and methodologies, as well as provide research experience to undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral students by revising courses to include the concept of spatial justice, 5) exposing women, minority, and underrepresented students to spatial justice content and skills that may influence their choice about further education and future careers and 6) enhancing the infrastructure for research and education through the development of a research network that will break down silos across individual campuses and all campuses involved.

“Million Hoodie March” in Union Square, Manhattan on March 21, 2012, protesting George Zimmerman’s shooting of Trayvon Martin. By David Shankbone – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18786683
Favela Paraisopolis, the largest informal settlement in the city of São Paulo, Brazil. Photo: R. Rocco (2016).
Black Lives Matter die-in protesting alleged police brutality in Saint Paul, Minnesota, September 20, 2015. By Fibonacci Blue from Minnesota, USA – Black Lives Matter protest against St. Paul police brutality, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44807553
Community meeting announcement in Kya Sands, an informal settlement in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The neighbourhood of Cabucu, city of São Paulo, Brazil. Photo by R. Rocco (2016).

Spatial Justice Webinar


On 9 JUNE, we organised our first WEBINAR with around 45 participants to discuss how the network would be set up. The results of this webinar will be posted here soon.

Spatial Justice Network (SJN). Virtual Spring Meeting, Tuesday, June 9, 2020 12:00pm – 14:00pm EST, 17:00 – 19:00 CET

Spatial Justice and Sustainability


This part of our website is under construction,

Inhabitants of Dhobi Ghat, an informal settlement in Mumbai, India. Photo: R. Rocco (2014).

This part of our website is under constructions

Coming soon

Join our network

Our network is open to scholars, practitioners, community leaders and students interested and passionate about spatial justice. Please, join our network here… read more.

Resources for teachers & researchers

Here you can find resources suggested by members of the network, including books, papers, videos and more… read more.

Basic definitions

Here you can find a number of definitions of spatial justice given by the members of the network … read more.

Who we are

Here you can find an introduction about the organisers of the network … in preparation.

Citizens of Addis-Ababa in Ethiopia strolling in front of one of the infamous green-yellow corrugate iron fences that demarcate spaces for new development in the city. Photo by R. Rocco (2017).

The Right to the City is a cry and a demand (Henri Lefebvre, 1968).

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Patsy Healy 1996, p.219

the recognition that we are diverse people living in complex webs of economic and social relations, within which we develop potentially very varied ways of seeing the world, of identifying our interests and values, of reasoning about them, and of thinking about our relations with others”.

Patsy Healey, 1996, p.3

Through such argumentation, a public realm is generatedthrough which diverse issues and diverse ways of raising issues can be given attention. In such situations, as Habermas argues, the power of the ‘better argument’ confronts and transforms the power of the state and capital

David Harvey, 1998.

“To claim the right to the city in the sense I mean it here is to claim some kind of shaping power over the processes of urbanisation, over the ways in which our cities are made and re-made and to do so in a fundamental and radical way”

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Our Network

Be part of a growing network of scholars and practitioners working with Spatial Justice