In the West, approaches to urban development have been justified by their contribution to economic growth rather than to greater justice, according to a leading expert on urban planning.

Susan Fainstein is a Senior Research Fellow in the Harvard Graduate School of Design and is a Visiting Professor at the Lee Kwan Yew School of the National University of Singapore.

In the lecture Justice in Neo-Liberal City, she will call for built environment policies to be evaluated in terms of their consequences for different social groups.

“Since the late 1970s, more people have been pushed out of the centre of cities,” says Dr Fainstein. “Cities have become the domain of developers and the rich.”

She will use the examples of New York, Amsterdam and Singapore to illustrate different planning approaches and their consequences for just cities.

“The wide variation of policy within the capitalist political economy shows potential for a creative state role,” says Dr Fainstein, who also calls for more affordable housing in all new developments.

“Justice as a governing principle causes a different discourse from competitiveness, and has the potential to level the playing field for lower-income earners.”

What: Utzon Lecture Justice in the Neo-Liberal City – Harvard’s Susan Fainstein

When: 7–8:30pm, Wednesday 16 October 2013 

Where: Ritchie Theatre, John Niland Scientia Building Lower Ground, UNSW

Register: or 9385 4800

Media contact: Susi Hamilton, UNSW Media Office, 9385 8920, 0422 934 024

About the Utzon Lecture Series: Officially launched in March 2010 by Jan Utzon, the son of the renowned Danish architect Jørn Utzon, the lecture series is held monthly at the UNSW Kensington campus. The series, hosted by UNSW’s Faculty of Built Environment, focuses on the presentation of ideas from leading contributors of international significance in the design, delivery and management of the built environment.