Council leader engages with 'planning for a just city' pioneer

23 November 2017

Cardiff University’s School of Geography and Planning welcomed Harvard University’s Professor Susan S. Fainstein and Cardiff Council Leader, Huw Thomas, on Tuesday 14 November 2017.

Professor Fainstein delivered a lecture on giving priority to justice in planning and used policy examples from New York, Amsterdam and Singapore to illustrate different planning approaches and their impact on consequences in developing more just cities.

Economic growth has been prioritised above justice and the result has been increased inequality and diminished access to amenities and welfare for already disadvantaged communities. The use of justice as a governing principle—defined by the criteria of equality, diversity, and democracy—would require that policies be evaluated in terms of their outcomes rather than simply the quality of the planning process.

A Senior Research Fellow at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, Professor Fainstein is an internationally respected voice on matters of planning theory, urban theory, urban redevelopment, and comparative urban policy. Her authored books include The Just City, The City Builders: Property, Politics, and Planning in London and New York, Restructuring the City, and Urban Political Movements.

The lecture was well-attended with an audience of almost a 100 gathering to hear about Professor Fainstein’s research in this area and glean further information from her experiences of how other global cities and administrations have tackled just planning.

Councillor Huw Thomas, Leader of Cardiff Council, was in attendance and followed Professor Fainstein’s lecture by responding on behalf of the city to the issues raised. He outlined the current position in Cardiff relating to planning practice and permissions and spoke to the Council’s future strategies.

Dr Johannes Novy from the School of Geography and Planning, who organised the event, added: “I am very grateful to Professor Fainstein for joining us in Cardiff, and delivering such an interesting, challenging and through-provoking lecture. Undoubtedly, the audience, especially our current students, will have benefited greatly from hearing first-hand about global approaches to just planning and the frameworks to enable this and overcome obstacles.”

For more information visit the School webpages.