Manifesto for the Just City


Call for A Manifesto for the Just City

An activity for students and teachers of the built environment.
TU Delft Global Urban Lab
Delft University of Technology & Partner Universities


COVID-19 initially looked like the “great equaliser”: all of humanity facing exactly the same microscopic enemy. There seemed to be an opportunity for all of us to work together towards the same goal: to heal ourselves and our relationship with our planet. It seemed almost like a dress rehearsal for the even bigger challenges we must face in the next decades: our planet’s delicate climate equilibrium tipping off balance, the likely disappearance of much of the planet’s biodiversity after the mass extinction of animals and plants we have witnessed in the last 50 years, the exhaustion of natural resources, growing inequality, as well as the rise of populism and a deepening democratic crisis.

Sadly, it soon became apparent that the virus would have a very different impact on different groups of people around the world, depending on their age, location, type of government, social class, access to medical care, job opportunities and even race. We have not come together. Our divisions and the injustices of our cities became even more apparent thanks to the virus.

Amid so many problems, we still have reason to be optimistic: we can turn things around and BUILD BACK BETTER after the storm is over. And the way to heal ourselves and our relationship with our planet is deeply connected to how we will deal with urbanization. Our cities and communities are the key for healthier people and a healthier planet, but also the key for stronger democracies and more resilient communities. Much work has already been done and the pathway to sustainable and fair cities has been laid out in the Sustainable Development Goals, the New Urban Agenda and the European Green Deal, among other policy frameworks.

We need more and better ideas on how to make our cities truly sustainable, inclusive and democratic. For this reason, we are launching a call for


For us, the Just City is not only a place that allows all its citizens to live a healthy and accomplished life, but also a city that allows the planet to regenerate itself and fosters civic life and democracy, affording all its citizens the RIGHT TO THE CITY.

In order to collect ideas and discuss ways to teach and learn how to make our cities more just, sustainable and inclusive, we want to hear from students from all over the world.

We want to invite you and your friends to write a manifesto of no more than 1000 words laying out your vision for the just city. The manifesto should be written in groups of between 3 and 5 students in any discipline related to the built environment (spatial planning, urban geography, design, architecture, landscape design, engineering, etc.) The manifesto can be written in in any language, provide that a good English translation is provided by the participants. The manifesto can also be illustrated (remember, images and text are complementary). We will only accept original pictures, drawings or illustrations produced by the participants (please, be mindful of copyrights).

In order to help you write your manifesto, we invite you and your group of fellow students to take part in a 4-part Urban Thinkers Campus organised by TU Delft and partner universities online.

Each part of this activity will provide you with new ideas about key topics of urban development, just like a mini-online course. In each session, you will have the opportunity to debate with like-minded people from other universities and will be invited to write short paragraphs with them. At the end of this process, we hope you will have enough ideas and material to write a trailblazing manifesto with your group.

The best manifestos will be published in a special number of TU Delft Urbanism students’ independent magazine ATLANTIS, and all the participants submitting a manifesto and taking part in at least two online lectures will be provided with a certificate of participation by the Delft University of Technology.



The workshop was split into 4 different sessions:


PART 1: BUILD BACK BETTER and The Right to Housing - 09.11.2020

With keynote from Leilani Farha, Former UN Rapporteur and Global Director of The Shift 



PART 2: BUILD BACK BETTER and Planning for Inclusion - 16.11.2020

With keynote from BIMKOM Planners for Planning Rights: 

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PART 3: BUILD BACK BETTER and Looking for solidarity in diversity, here and now - 23.11.2020

Keynote TBC

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PART 4: BUILD BACK BETTER and Race and Space: issues of race - 30.11.2020

With guest keynotes:

- Dr. Suraj Yengde - Shorenstein Center inaugural post-doctoral fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Public Policy

- Tainá de Paula - Architect, urban planner, activist of urban social movements

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This 4-part event is part of World Urban Campaign's Urban Thinkers Campus series.