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Bringing it all together

Congratulations on engaging with us to explore critical issues of ethical cities and sustainability. We hope that you now have some useful knowledge and tools to enable you to engage with projects and initiatives, both on climate change and inequality. I hope that by sharing your perspectives, your experiences, and solutions over the last two weeks, this has sort of enriched as well as challenged your understanding of the ethical city. At the beginning of this course, we explore the localization of the SDGs, the Pan-European Green Deal, and the new European Bauhaus as ways to kind of foster the ethical city. We examine the need to respond to inequality and our efforts towards sustainability.
And the need also to embed sustainability in our response to inequality. Moreover, we established across both the importance of good governance, accountability, and inclusion. So across this course, we’ve worked to shine a light on the social structures, the embedded power structures if you like, that empower and disempower people. And in this second week, we built on these ideas by examining the opportunities to create ethical city projects and the ways in which we can plan, measure, and monitor a city. In doing this, we took a principled approach to understanding issues and identifying what is important to address at the local level.
We recognise that every city is different and that when we design projects to make our city more sustainable or equitable, we need to ensure we’re taking account of those local conditions. Moreover, we considered the need for all citizens across the city to be involved in the collective decision making. As this course comes to an end, I hope the experience has provided you with tangible ideas for taking collective ethical approaches to advancing sustainability social equity and good governance in your own city. In other words, I strongly encourage you to put what you’ve learned here into practise. I’d also like to emphasise that you have a crucial role in contributing to making ethical cities as we all do.
Indeed, the future of our cities depends on our collective efforts. And I wish you all the very best with your future endeavours.

Ethical cities and sustainability at the local level: let’s bring it all together.

The big question we set out to answer at the beginning of this course was: ‘How can cities become fairer, more sustainable and inclusive, and better governed?’

We hope the frameworks and examples we’ve worked through in this course have challenged and extended your thinking and extended your personal approach to improving governance, boosting sustainability and developing a better quality of life for your city.

What we covered this week

This week, we looked at the concept of an ‘ethical city’ as a situated and principled approach.

We identified how a collective approach is needed to identify and address important issues for the city and explored what to measure in a way that is meaningful to the city.

We considered procedural justice as a way to engage people and enhance discussions about values and common causes of citizens, and finally, considered pathways for successful collaboration.

Final takeaways

Some of our key takeaways from the concepts and examples presented in this course are:

  • Adoption of the SDGs offers one step on a possible pathway towards sustainability, however this step needs to be enhanced through placed-based participatory approaches that centre on environmental and social justice.
  • There are a range of place-based approaches that present multiple collective values to learn from.
  • The ethical cities agenda advances a principles-based and collaborative approach to urban development for government actors, private sector, civil society, individuals and communities.
  • Making space for each other, literally and figuratively, is a central concept for the ethical city. This applies to identifying important issues for the city and what to measure in a way that is meaningful to the city.

Your task

Watch the video from Ralph to find out more about the key ideas and principles that we’ve covered in this course.

In the comment section below, share and discuss your own key takeaways.

What is the most important message you’ll take away from this course and apply in your professional context?

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Creating Ethical and Sustainable Cities at the Local Level

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