Realising Just Cities needs innovative funding -- reporting back from RJC UK

Infographic from the report Realising Just Cities: An Overview of Activity 2016–2019

“Innovative funding and enabling institutions are needed to support and nurture dedicated researchers to work in partnerships to realise just cities.” This is among the conclusions of Realising Just Cities: An Overview of Activity 2016–2019, a new report which also demonstrates what becomes possible when such support is in place.

Inspired by deep traditions of thought, from critical urban theory and pragmatism, the team of 13 University of Sheffield researchers involved in Realising Just Cities UK have looked for and created spaces of possibility and hope, alternatives and imaginaries, underpinned by an engaged social scientific practice. Working on the ground in Sheffield and Greater Manchester, we have sought to test and learn about how co-production can help realise more just cities.

In practice, over the past four years, this has meant:

  • Working closely alongside policy makers, civil society groups and residents
  • Creating intermediary spaces that break down boundaries and enable recognition of diverse forms of expertise
  • Facilitating residents to develop their own ideas
  • Fostering coalitions-of-the-willing regionally and internationally

More specifically, Dr Sophie King co-created projects exploring the power of community-led organising to improve housing and foster movements for social change, informed by practices from the Global South. Dr Nick Taylor-Buck and Dr Charlie Spring brought together stakeholders to consider how new digital infrastructure could tackle food injustice. Nick also supported Dr Kristina Diprose working with Sheffield City Council to assess the local relevance of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Dr Vicky Habermehl and Dr Bert Russell trialled approaches to participation with additional ESRC funding enabling significant work on the role of citizen knowledge and expertise in planning and new opportunities arising from city-regional devolution. Prof Tim May headed up an exploration of sites of knowledge production, with contributions from PhD students Alex McVicar-Payling, Jenny Patient, and Ryan Bellinson. The whole programme was given intellectual coherence by Prof Beth Perry, with professional support provided by Dr Vicky Simpson and Dr Iona Hine.

Launching the report

The report was launched as part of the 4th international Realising Just Cities conference, when we welcomed 96 Mistra Urban Futures delegates to Sheffield along with dozens of other participants keen to consider the lessons, impact and outcomes from Mistra Urban Futures research.

Read the report:

As demonstrated below, a digital version of the report is now available to read online, download as a PDF, or browse at leisure on (There’s also a plain PDF for those who prefer.)

Cite the report:

Perry, B., Diprose, K., King, S., Habermehl, V., Hine, I., May, T., Russell, B., Simpson, V., Spring, C. and Taylor Buck, N., with Bellinson, R., McVicar-Payling, A. and Patient, J. (2019) Realising Just Cities: An Overview of Activity 2016–2019, Sheffield.

Our thanks to graphic designer Rachael MacNiven (Seventy Seven Creations), who worked with us to illustrate the work we have documented.