UrbanA Arena Event: Justice Challenges in Urban Sustainability

04 jun, 2020

The online Barcelona UrbanA Arena event on June 4-5 focuses on discussing the drivers of injustice manifested and experienced in cities, and debating whether and how urban justice and sustainability can meet. 
The second Arena event aims at fostering a transversal dialogue on what we mean by ‘justice’ in urban sustainability. Participants will begin this dialogue by reflecting on the initial results of an UrbanA study that summarizes the manifestations and drivers of urban injustice in different countries according to recent EU research. 
The purpose of this Arena is twofold:

  • to engage invited participants and the existing UrbanA Community of Practice in producing a clear, powerful and comprehensive statement on the justice challenges in urban sustainability;
  • and to further contribute to the overall UrbanA objective of consolidating and communicating knowledge and experience on how to make cities more just and sustainable.

Building transformative alternatives together, with and for communities
The spirit of this Arena revolves around the idea of stepping outside our “comfort zones” (often entrenched in some sort of privilege) in order to recognize, listen and give visibility to the needs and demands of vulnerable and/or marginalized individuals, social groups and communities. This will be achieved through the thematic content of this Arena event, which is focusing on justice challenges, and input from a variety of participant viewpoints and session formats.
Day 1: What are the drivers and manifestations of urban injustice and how do they challenge sustainability? Theoretical insights and case examples from around Europe.

  • 10.00 – 12.00: Introduction and discussion in breakout groups
    • Exclusive access to the benefits of urban sustainability infrastructure
    • Material and livelihood inequalities
    • Racialized or ethnically exclusionary urbanization
    • Uneven and excluding urban intensification and regeneration
    • Uneven environmental health and pollution patterns
  • 15.00 – 17.00: Discussion in breakout groups and plenary briefing
    • Unfit organizational structures
    • No or tokenistic participation in/engagement with urban governance
    • Lack of effective knowledge brokerage
    • Unquestioned neoclassical economics and neoliberal growth/austerity
    • Weak(ened) civil society


Day 2: Coronavirus pandemic as inequality and a breaking point in how we imagine cities.  

  • 10.00 – 12.00 Open webinar: plenary with Q&A. What does COVID-19 tell us about justice and sustainability in cities? Trends of exacerbated health inequalities and emergent questions around socio-environmental justice in times of disease risk and social confinement.
  • 15.00 – 17.00 Introduction and discussion in small groups ‘Let’s imagine’: What lessons are learnt and what possibilities have opened for building projects of urban justice and sustainability?

More information
The event is hosted by the BCN Lab for Urban Environmental Justice at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (BCNEUJ) – Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) and takes place from 4 to 5 June.
We invite people from all types of backgrounds to apply as participants: activists, policy-makers, academics, entrepreneurs, researchers, intellectuals, members of local or translocal activists platforms, etc.. As the events and communications within UrbanA are held primarily in English, you should have a good knowledge of English. As an UrbanA Arena participant you commit to participating in the UrbanA Arena in Barcelona.
We have 15 places open! Deadline for applications is 30th April 2020. See the UrbanA-website for more details, look at this information sheet for further information on the application process or apply directly.
About UrbanA
A key element of UrbanA is the organisation of four co-creative spaces, known as Arena events, during the course of the project. City-makers and city-thinkers from across Europe and across disciplines will come together to connect with one another, to reflect on the urban knowledge that research projects have already identified, and to generate promising approaches to the creation of sustainable, inclusive and thriving cities. Each Arena event will take place in one of four different cities – Rotterdam, Barcelona, Berlin and Brussels – and will focus on a specific theme. Read more about UrbanA on our projectpage.
UrbanA has received funding under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement no. 822357.