21 October 2021

ICLEI among a group of urban researchers and activists that have launched 17 keys to sustainable just cities

Today, a community of urban researchers and city makers – including ICLEI Europe – launched 17 keys to sustainable and just cities. The keys are clustered under four themes – honest, caring, regenerative and informed – and aim to support the work of decision-makers, administrators, activists, urban planners and other city-makers.

The keys are grounded in the understanding that examining the roots of injustice and ecological unsustainability is essential to building cities that are equal, inclusive, and sustainable.

Each key is linked to a wealth of relevant further information, including videos, podcasts and publications, as well as links to pages in a co-created "Wiki" on sustainable, just cities. Readers can delve into useful approaches and governance arrangements for making each key a reality, and learn more about the drivers of injustice that each key addresses.

For example the "Green is for everyone" key, associated with accessibility, is linked to:

  • wiki entries on: nature-based solutions for health and equality, and opportunities for public participation
  • videos on: exclusive access to benefits to urban sustainability infrastructure, and racialised or ethnically exclusionary urbanisation
  • podcasts on: participation and the distribution of urban space, and on nature-based solutions.

The "Green is for everyone" key is about ensuring greener infrastructure and services are accessible to all urban dwellers. It highlights that accessibility is not only a physical issue (i.e. access to public space), but also an economic (e.g. affordability), knowledge (e.g. language used), social (e.g. homelessness), and a political issue (e.g. transparency in decision-making).

The launch of these 17 keys are the penultimate step in the Horizon 2020 UrbanA project, coordinated by ICLEI Europe. The project has brought together hundreds of urban activists, policy makers and researchers in a highly collaborative way to tackle the challenge of how to make cities both just and sustainable.

The keys are hosted on the newly launched Sustainable Just Cities platform, which aims to serve as a hub to access a wide variety of practical resources and information.

For more information, re-watch a recent webinar, which explored the tension between social justice and ecological sustainability, and how to overcome realted challenges using the 17 keys.