Socio-Spatial (In)justice

The Right to the City (Henri Lefebvre) and the Just City (Susan Fainstein) are notions in critical urban studies and progressive planning theory, respectively, valorizing the complex relationships between urban space, political economy and social justice. With roots in the 1960s’ social movements, the debates around spatial justice and social fairness are very relevant today as societies both in the Global South and North are facing new challenges, embodied in political populism, neoliberal economic policies, international real-estate capitalism, social polarization, uneven development, resource crisis and new data-driven forms of social control. 

In this context, we ask how to fight these negative processes in and through the contemporary city and society? Does urban space, broadly defined, have any leverage for critical and progressive action today? How to experiment and demonstrate inclusive spaces and practices? What are the linkages (and missing connections) between urban activism, appropriation of spaces, and digital mobilization? How to tackle the populist disruptions on-site and on-line? Do legal actions or exemplary urban planning have a role? 

In the working group on Socio-Spatial (In)justice, thus, we will explore spatially embedded practices for social justice as an emerging phenomenon worth of attention. We welcome papers and presentations from several disciplines. We would like to learn from researchers and practitioners that focus on dynamics and intersections between social processes and physical urban space, on the one hand, and between regulation and self-organisation, on the other hand. The organisers share interests in Latin American studies, land policy, regionalization, financialization of housing, urban violence and gender, public urban space, temporary uses, as well as new urban actors and social movements. These themes are in no way an exhaustive list of possible topics of the working group. We accept presentations that are based on academic research and practical work and experimentation alike. We especially invite participants that engage in other perspectives than the dominant Euro-American one. The language of the working group is English.


Session chairpersons:


Professor Panu Lehtovuori, Tampere University, School of Architecture, +358 50 525 0252,

Vice chairs

PhD researcher Dalia Milián Bernal, Tampere University, School of Architecture, +358 44 952 7507,

Postdoc researcher Ozlem Celik, University of Helsinki, Development Studies and HELSUS, +358 50 325 3596,

University Researcher and Docent Florencia Quesada Avendaño, University of Helsinki, Development Studies, HELSUS and Urbaria, +358 50 595 9737,

Assistant professor Lina Olsson, Malmö University, +46 40 665 7934,


Abstract deadline is March 15, 2020. Correspondence preferably to: