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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.

From Environmental to Climate Justice: Climate Change and the Discourse of Environmental Justice

This academic paper traces the environmental justice discourse and its influence on various articulations of climate justice, as well as recent discussions on “just adaptation” to climate change.


This academic paper traces the articulations of environmental justice since its development and its subsequent influence on the three main forums for climate justice discourse: academia, nongovernmental organizations, and grassroots movements. Of these three articulations, the key concerns and principles of environmental justice are clearest in the climate justice discourse developed from grassroots movements—which have greater focus on local impacts and experience, inequitable vulnerabilities, the importance of community voice, and demands for community sovereignty and functioning.

In addition, this review traces how environmental justice affects more recent articulations of ideas for “just adaptation” to climate change. In this context, adaptation touches on issues of participation, cultural impacts, and a community’s basic needs and ability to function. This broad set of justice concerns around adaptation is not only reactive but also reconstructive, which suggests adaptation can be transformative.