City of equals

Jonathan Wolff, Avner de-Shalit

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


When we think about equality in the city, we are very likely to think first of the wide and growing divide between rich and poor, in material terms. Yet when we think more about a 'city of equals' it becomes apparent that how people feel treated by the city and those around them, and whether they can live according to their values, are much more central. Accordingly, based on the authors' reflections, a multi-disciplinary literature review, and, distinctively, more than 180 interviews in ten cities in six countries, the book offers an account of a city of equals based on the idea that it should give each of its city-zens a secure sense of place or belonging. Four underlying values structure this account. First, access to the goods and services of the city should not be based purely on the market. Second, each city-zen should be able to live a life they find meaningful. Third, there should be diversity and wide social mixing. Fourth, there should be 'non-deferential inclusion', that is, each person in the city should be able to get access to what they are entitled to without being treated as less worthy than others. They should be able to enjoy their rights without bowing and scraping, waiting longer than others, or going through special bureaucratic hurdles. In sum, in a city of equals each person is proud of their city and has the (justified) feeling that their city is proud of (people like) them.

Original languageAmerican English
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages225
ISBN (Electronic)9780191997594
ISBN (Print)9780198894735
StatePublished - 18 Jan 2024


  • Cities
  • Diversity
  • Equality
  • Equality in the city
  • Inclusion
  • Inequality
  • Public reflective equilibrium
  • Relational equality
  • Social mixing
  • Urban political philosophy

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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