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Published

23 June 2016

‘Realising Just Cities’ conference: what are ‘just cities’ and how can we create them?

Anyone with an interest in sustainable urban development and equitable cities would do well to visit Gothenburg in September. Mistra Urban Futures will then be holding its first annual conference in one of its ‘home towns’.

Since 2010, the international research centre Mistra Urban Futures has been working on sustainable urban development. Key issues for the centre relate to social justice, green urban areas and accessibility to all. But what does the term ‘just cities’ cover? And how can a just city be realised? These questions will be discussed at the Realising Just Cities conference.

‘Creating just cities can’t be achieved by individuals. One requirement is for it to take place in co-production involving local residents, politicians, researchers, businesses and organisations. The conference is for people who want to learn more about how co-production is done. We want to see a lot of discussions between scientists and politicians,’ says Ulrica Gustafsson, Mistra Urban Futures’ events manager.

One of the keynote speakers at the conference will be Debra Roberts from South Africa. For three decades, she has been working on urban development in Durban, a metropolitan region with some 3.5 million inhabitants. During the conference she will hold a discussion on co-production with Professor John Robinson of the University of Toronto.

‘I hope for some tremendously interesting talks between speakers and visitors from various parts of the world. We often refer to Swedish towns and cities as segregated. During the conference we can compare ourselves with other places. What kinds of work have been under way elsewhere in the world?’

Around 150 delegates are expected to attend the conference, which is being held on 19–20 September. During it, the delegates will be able to hear a number of lectures but also themselves, in small groups, join in discussions.

‘This is vital knowledge for municipalities and regions, as well as for researchers, civil society and the business sector. We see the conference as an important contribution to knowledge dissemination and new initiatives,’ says Ulrica Gustafsson.

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