Publications & tools

Press release

Urban researchers and activists launch 17 keys for sustainable just cities

25 October 2021 00:00 - Freiburg, Germany

A community of urban researchers and city makers recently launched 17 keys for sustainable and just cities. The keys provide practical ways for urban decision makers, administrators, activists and urban planners to tackle the twin challenges of injustice and unsustainability. 

In order to build sustainable cities, we need to get to the root of injustice. The keys open paths for decision makers to shape a better future for their cities. Each key comes with a wealth of resources, including videos, podcasts, wikis and publications, through which users can delve into innovative approaches and governance arrangements.

For example, the ‘Green is for everyone' key on accessibility provides: 

  • wiki entries on nature-based solutions for health, on equality, and on avenues for public participation
  • informative videos on benefits of sustainable urban infrastructure, and on racialised or ethnically exclusionary urbanisation
  • podcast episodes on participation and distribution of urban space, and on nature-based solutions. 

The 'Green is for everyone' key provides a path to ensure that green infrastructure and accessible services are available 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 keys mark the penultimate step in a three-year Horizon 2020-funded project called UrbanA, which 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: They were launched at a webinar about challenges related to the tension between social justice and ecological sustainability, and how to overcome these challenges using the 17 keys. You can re-watch the launch of the keys here.