“Just transition” in urban sustainability policy design


A call for a research collaboration within EDUC-SHARE initiative

Date: January 8 (h. 15-19) and 9 (h. 9-13), 2024

Main venue: University of Cagliari, Palazzo Cugia, Via Santa Croce 67, Cagliari (map)

Remote access: link in MS teams

This concise document seeks to establish a preliminary framework for engaging in collaborative research within the EDUC SHARE initiative on the topic of "just transition" within sustainability policies, particularly at the urban and suburban levels.

Deliberately broad in scope, its aim is to spark initial interest among researchers within the EDUC alliance. This broadness will hopefully pave the way for a more in-depth exploration and refinement of specific research hypotheses during the sub-clustering event in Cagliari. The meeting will serve as forum to converge on concrete research project proposals for potential submission to European and national funding bodies.

The foundation of this tentative platform rests on two core tenets:

  • Urban sustainability stands as a linchpin in executing sustainability agendas, ranging from the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to diverse national and regional agendas and initiatives. The frequent emphasis on mega projects and significant interventions might overshadow the collective positive impact of smaller-scale urban projects and policies at the neighbourhood level. Indeed, the perspective of sustainable urbanisation offers major opportunities to «fight against poverty, inequality, unemployment, climate change and other pressing global challenges» (UN-Habitat, 2020). Hence, the research platform specifically focuses on sustainability policies, projects and actions at suburban and neighbourhood levels.
  • The second premise encompasses a normative and a programmatic dimension: (i) (normative) on one hand the sustainability policies, projects, and actions ought not to neglect the dimensions of fairness and inclusion at the local level; but above all (ii) (programmatic) such policies, projects, and actions should be viewed as an opportunity, as it were, a “vehicle”to also advance those goals of fairness and inclusion, if they are purposefully designed. There in emerges the programmatic drive for "just transition" in policy design, urging the integration of these critical dimensions into the design of sustainability policies, projects, and actions.

These tenets indeed constitute the foundation for a host of possible research projects, varying and combining research methodologies, focusing on different policy domains(urban regeneration, urban mobility policies, housing, energy communities, etc.), and electing different urban contexts as case studies for fieldwork.

A follow-up meeting will be held online in the following weeks to further develop the project proposals.


Contact person:

Ivan Blečić

University of Cagliari, Italy