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Jacques Lévy, Jean-Nicolas Fauchille, Ana Póvoas

A Theory of Spatial Justice The Geography of the Just and the Unjust

Jacques Lévy is a geographer, graduate of the École normale supérieure de Cachan, professor at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, and at the University of Reims. He was awarded the Prix Vautrin-Lud 2018, the highest distinction in geography. His work deals with the theory of the space of societies, notably through the geography of the political, of cities and urbanity, of public space and urbanism, of Europe and globalization. Jean-Nicolas Fauchille, a Ph.D. [ok?] at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, is an urbanist and researcher in the social sciences of space. Ana Póvoas, Ph.D. [ok?] at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, does research in the social sciences, and is an architect-urbanist. She is interested in the impacts of space in the development of individuals and of societies.

Geography is becoming increasingly important in the public debate. Expressions such as “territorial breakdown,” “peripheral France,” “abandoned downtowns,” abandoned rural areas,” “medical deserts,” are abundant. The question of justice, central to a democracy, is strongly enhanced by arguments relating to space. Based on field surveys carried out among European citizens, this book shows how an unprecedented relationship between space and justice has been constructed in the past few decades. It examines spatial questions that have an important impact on our democracies: does urbanization create injustice? Are we assigned to where we live, or is it our choice? Should public services (health, education…) be allocated according to the number of inhabitants, or by km2? How can governmental administration be organized so that it functions more judiciously? On all of these questions, we discover that citizens have points of view that they support according to their conception of justice. Conversely, the great theories of justice, from Aristotle to Amartya Sen, are filled out by integrating spatial arguments. In the end, the question of spatial justice (“What is a just space?”) shakes things up, and forces one to find solutions using a participatory democracy approach.