Knowledge for just urban sustainability

May, T., & Perry, B. (2017). Knowledge for just urban sustainability. Local Environment, 22(sup1), 23–35. doi:10.1080/13549839.2016.1233527

Sheffield-Manchester Global
Publication type
Scientific article (peer-reviewed)
Governance and Policy for Sustainability, GAPS
DOI Title
Knowledge for just urban sustainability
Local Environment
1354-9839 1469-6711
Tim May Beth Perry
Published year
Geography, Planning and Development Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law



The article examines the conditions required for producing knowledge for just urban sustainability. It highlights a need to review the current social organisation of knowledge within cities and the implications for academic practice – in other words, whose interests are being served? Whose knowledge claims are being supported and justified? The article considers how the knowledge practices of cities and universities often exacerbate urban problems that are perpetuated by a limited imaginary and selectivity. It is argued that a gap exists between the content of knowledge and the context of its application. What is required are new ways of practising collaborative research that do not compromise critique, but open it up to engagement with forms of knowledge that are currently excluded from the representations and categorisations that constitute dominant practices. By bringing the “what” and “how” of knowledge together in a process of active intermediation, it is possible to contribute to more just, sustainable urban futures for the many, not the few.


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