A Just Transition for Cities

With support from the UNIC4ER Seed Fund, an interdisciplinary collaboration between colleagues from EUR’s ESL and Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, and University College Cork’s School of Law, and Departments of Philosophy and of Geography, will explore what (Financing) A Just Transition for (Port) Cities might look like.


Walking tour around Rotterdam



By critically engaging with the conceptual, normative and implementation approaches to current governance responses to climate change, two scholarly workshops (EUR November 2023; UCC, Spring 2024) will identify points of tension and potential opportunity to steer climate change governance response towards more just institutional processes and outcomes.

Meanwhile, a novel “Just Transition Walking Tour” project will pilot an engaged research and learning approach to placebased and community-centred approaches to ‘A Just Transition.’

The FJTC-4F Core Group consists of Erasmus University - Dr. Siobhán Airey; Dr. Alberto Quintavalla; Dr Klaus Heine (all at the School of Law), and Dr. David Dodman (Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies), and at University College Cork, Dr. Kian Mintz-Woo (Department of Philosophy); Dr. Therese Kenna (Department of Geography), and Prof Owen McIntyre (School of Law).

The picture above is from the group's first meeting of the EUR-UCC Core Group on May 25th, 2023 – raising our tea/coffee/smoothie drinks in celebration of the award. (Missing from photo – David Dodman and Owen McIntyre).

A Just Transition for Rotterdam Walking Tour was the outcome of several months’ discussion with Rotterdam-based students on what “A Just Transition” might mean for Rotterdam city. Typically, legal, regulatory and policy frameworks on responses to climate change were developed at the international, regional, and national levels and thus were ‘top-down’ governance approaches, with minimal meaningful input from people who will be most affected by climate change. In addition, climate change plans are mainly framed as target-centred, technical and apolitical instruments, disguising the very real unequal impacts of climate change on different groups of people.

This top-down, technical framing of typical climate change plans changes when we shift our focus to examine what a “Climate Just Rotterdam City” might look like. This city-level justice lens brings to the fore a clear consideration of the unique historical, cultural, economic, social and geographic features that makes Rotterdam a well-recognised “superdiverse” city.

Using a bespoke engaged legal research methodology, this project uses the Walking Tour as an instrument of awareness-raising and learning; furthering political and community engagement and action for participants on dimensions to Rotterdam city’s profile that have, to date, been overlooked in municipal and wider climate change plans and planning.

This activity addresses the three dimensions of Learning (imparting knowledge on the challenges of a Just Transition for Rotterdam, and initiatives to address this); Research (what a Just Transition for Rotterdam might mean, and how it could be progressed) and Celebration (celebrating the respective contributions of community organisations and EUR to Rotterdam down through the years, and the value of EUR-community engaged partnerships to Rotterdam’s city life).

The production of this Just Transition for Rotterdam Walking Tour offers an innovative interpretation and critical engagement with both EUR and municipal approaches to sustainability.


UNIC Seed Fund



Type of Case




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