The role of the university in the promotion of sociospatial justice

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In 2016, The New Urban Agenda adopted in Quito recognized the persistence of multiple forms of poverty, increasing inequalities and environmental degradation as the greatest obstacles to the sustainable development of cities around the world. In this paper, it is argued that, to begin to address these challenges, it is necessary to transform the formative itineraries of the disciplines linked to the production of the city. Likewise, it advocates the incorporation of socio-spatial justice and environmental sustainability as fundamental approaches into their curricula in order to respond effectively to the challenges of cities in the 21st century. In this sense, this work presents an innovative action-research-learning initiative to incorporate the socio-spatial justice approach in the context of urban planning education. A review of theoretical approaches has been done in relation to the role of the university in the promotion of socio-spatial justice, from which an analytical framework has been developed. This analytical framework is applied to a innovative challenge-driven practices in Brazil. The research shows the actions carried out from the university in order to make visible the difficulties as well as the capacities of a community excluded from making their rights effective. Throughout these experiences, the importance of the co-production of knowledge (as a result of a collaborative work between the university and vulnerable communities) is shown, as well as the need for the university to put training and research activities at the service of society and, in particular, of social justice and not of other interests.
Urban education and research, innovation, learning processes, social inclusion, international dialogue