Co-producing knowledge for Global Urban Justice in Precarious Neighborhoods: Claims, Critical Reflexions and Coalitions

The last decade has witnessed a growth in the co-production of knowledge on, and practice-based respoponses to, urban (in)justice. In a context marked by increasing socio-spatial and environmental inequalities, and the growing vulnerability of so-called ‘precarious neighborhoods’ viz the financialisation of the urban, new or reinvigorated platforms of solidarity, ‘counter-knowledge’, advocacy and action have emerged, bringing together a constellation of actors. Growing connections between social movements have been noteworthy in this instance, but so too has the emergence of global hybrid platforms, moving towards coordinated expressions of the demand for justice. Pertinent examples here include the reinforcement of Habitat International Coalition, or indeed the rise of the Global Platform for the Right to the City, firmly supported by international actors such as UCLG, an international coordination of local authorities, but also public foundations and research centers. Meanwhile, and of particular interest to the academy, have been the role of ‘acvitist academics’, actively responding to and supporting citizens’ knowledge production and mobilisations. These diverse partnerships and platforms have gained real successes at a variety of scales : urban, regional, and global, the most recent being the aknowledgment of the right to the city in the New Urban Agenda adopted in Quito during Habitat III, despite the resistance of several member states.

The session invites reflexions on the geographies of such co-production, calling for a critical cartography of emerging forms of engagement between academics, social and institutional actors towards global urban justice.

  • What are the support institutions, discourses and positions of academics, researchers and curricula involved with local (and networked) actors fighting for global urban justice? Where are they situated ?
  • What are the ethical stances and specific methodologies developed by such embedded  academics/institutions?
  • How are local/national/regional theoretical and critical traditions engaging with the emerging global nexus towards urban justice and urban rights ?
  • How can the academy best support a counter-narrative of globalisation focused on justice – what balance between research agendas and the pedagological production aimed at a large diffusion and operationalisation of key principles of justice?
  • What pedagogies are required to develop ‘reflexive/activist practitioners’ willing and able to work towards global urban justice?


Agnès Deboulet, Université Paris 8 – Lavue-CNRS,

Barbara Lipietz, UCL