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What is "Just Transition"?

Just Urban Transitions: Toward a Research Agenda

This article proposes a new approach to just urban transitions and identifies additional research priorities to inform them based on gaps in the underlying justice literature.


Despite growing policy discussions around urban climate action and just transitions, the requirements for a just urban transition (JUT) are not well understood. This article explores JUTs by examining the intersection between urban climate action and just transitions.

The authors examine the different areas of justice scholarship—including environmental, climate, energy, and urban justice—that can inform JUTs. These various fields have elevated distributional impacts and demonstrated the importance of decisionmaking processes. However, the authors conclude that justice scholarship is largely retrospective and focused on “redressing harms rather than identifying and elaborating on agency in the process of change moving forward.”

To address this gap, the authors argue that “shifting from an evaluative perspective to a change and process-oriented perspective is critical to forwarding a JUT research and policy agenda.” Consistent with just transitions policy discussions, they call for a forward-looking approach that integrates justice principles and emphasizes change processes, alternative futures, and political and structural barriers. They conclude by identifying key questions for subsequent research on JUTs.