Spatial Justice

Other Names: Urban Equity, Geographical Justice, Urban Justice
A concept that connects the idea of social justice to urban space.

Justice Spatial for Cairo: TADAMUN: The Cairo Urban Solidarity Initiative


Spatial Justice as a concept focuses the spatial dimension of the spaces we live, work and play in, to the spatial dimensions of politics that govern us. It can be used as a framework for action and a tool for urban development, but most importantly it connects the idea of Social Justice to Urban Space (our neighbourhoods, our towns, and our cities).

Spatial Justice as a concept should not be seen as replacement to social, economic, or other forms of justice but rather as an additional way of looking at justice from a critical spatial perspective. It speaks to the nature of spatial governance and decision making and is associated to ideas of democracy, participation, and the Right to the City.  It is important due to the territorial nature of wealth distribution and the spatial nature of accessing urban resources.

Work through a Spatial Justice framework can be understood as ‘procedural’ and ‘distributive’ practices of justice. It carries a particular focus on our right to housing, our right to healthy environments, as well as our right to mobility.

See more summaries HERE from the Spatial Justice Network

Examples of those who work through spatial justice concepts

South African

People’s Environment Planning (PEP)

Socio- Economic Rights Institute (SERI)

1to1 – Agency of Engagement

Social Justice Coalition

Asiye eTafuleni

Ndifuna Ukwazi

Development Action Group


Liz Ogbu

Teddy Cruz

Designing Justice & Designing Spaces

Social Inclusion in Space: Cities in Brazil and India

Seeking Spatial Justice in Asian Cities – Edward Soja

Australian cities and their metropolitan plans still seem to be parallel universes – Robert Freestone & Stephen Hamnett

Quick Reads

South African

Right to the City for a South African Context – Isandla

Social Justice Resources in South Africa – Social Justice Coalition

Spatial Justice in South Africa – SA Scenarios 2030


Spatial Justice – Re-Think the City

MOOC on Spatial Justice – TU Delft

Chicago Talks: Spatial Justice – Liz Ogbu

Identifying Spatial Justice Issues – Spatial Justice Resource

Spatial Justice Network – The Spatial Justice Network


South African

Mabin, A. (2013) ‘Spatial justice as viewed from Gauteng; South Africa: Professionals; planning; possibilities’, in Fol, S., Lehman-Frisch, S., and Morange, M. (eds) Ségrégation et Justice spatiale. Paris: Presses Universitaires de Paris Ouest, pp. 335-353. doi: 10.4000/books.pupo.2166.

Josh Budlender and Royston, L. (2016) Edged out. Spatial Mismatch and Spatial Justice in South Africa’s main urban areas. Johannesburg. Available at:

Adegeye, A. and Coetzee, J. (2019) ‘Exploring the fragments of spatial justice and its relevance for the global south’, Development Southern Africa. Routledge, 36(3), pp. 376–389. doi: 10.1080/0376835X.2018.1495062.


Soja, E. W. (2016) ‘The City and Spatial Justice’, in Justice et injustices spatiales. doi: 10.4000/books.pupo.415.

Fainstein, S. (2014) ‘The Just City’, International Journal of Urban Sciences, 18(1), pp. 1–18. doi: 10.1080/12265934.2013.834643.

Harvey, D. (2003) ‘The right to the city’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 27(4), pp. 939–941. doi: 10.1111/j.0309-1317.2003.00492.x.

Iveson, K. (2011) ‘Social or spatial justice? Marcuse and Soja on the right to the city’, City. Routledge, 15(2), pp. 250–259. doi: 10.1080/13604813.2011.568723.

See more references HERE from the Spatial Justice Network

JSD_ZA Contributions on Spatial Justice

“The search for justice has become a powerful rallying cry and mobilising force for new social movements and coalition-building spanning the political spectrum, extending the concept of justice beyond the social and the economic to new forms of struggle and activism.

In addition to spatial justice, other modifiers include territorial, racial, environmental, worker, youth, global, local, community, peace, monetary, border, and corporeal.”

Edward Soja, 2009