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Competing Ideas of Social Justice and Space: Locating Critiques of Housing Renewal in Theory and in Practice


  • Ed Ferrari


This article considers the experience of the English government's policy of Housing Market Renewal from the perspective of spatial justice. The paper first proposes an analytical framework that situates competing notions of territorial social justice within a space of complex sociospatial relations. The dialectic of two formulations of social justice is first set up, comparing ‘procedural’ or deontological forms of justice and the distributional justice of outcomes. Soja's formulation of spatial justice is advanced as an appropriate balance between spatial and socio-historic contexts for the justice question. Drawing on the literature on sociospatial relations, concrete critiques and justifications of HMR are then positioned in terms of the intersection of structuring principles and policy fields. The role of demolition in urban restructuring programmes is used to explore the differential spatialities involved in different justicial perspectives. It is concluded that ‘gentrification’ critiques of HMR are only partial in their evaluation of justice and lack normative power. Some practical implications for the design of urban restructuring policies are offered.

Suggested Citation

  • Ed Ferrari, 2012. "Competing Ideas of Social Justice and Space: Locating Critiques of Housing Renewal in Theory and in Practice," International Journal of Housing Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 263-280, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:intjhp:v:12:y:2012:i:3:p:263-280
    DOI: 10.1080/14616718.2012.709668

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    1. repec:gam:jsusta:v:8:y:2016:i:4:p:388:d:68608 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Hans Lind & Kerstin Annadotter & Folke Björk & Lovisa Högberg & Tord Af Klintberg, 2016. "Sustainable Renovation Strategy in the Swedish Million Homes Programme: A Case Study," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(4), pages 1-12, April.

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