The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


DPU Working Paper - No. 92

Urban Management and Social Justice


27 December 1998

Authors: Enrico Corubolo

Publication Date: 1998

Although providing a definition of development is still object of controversy, there is substantial agreement that it should correspond to a general improvement in living conditions. Much of the controversy actually concerns the means by which such improvement can be achieved. A possible way of looking at development issues is by considering their inherently moral nature: an overall betterment in living standards can be and usually is advocated on the basis that all human beings deserve to live in decent conditions so as to allow them to enjoy equal opportunities.

More than that, morality also reflects a concern with how differential treatment can be justified in society. In providing a background for the whole development discourse, the theme of social justice thus becomes an expression of the moral interrogatives raised in the allocation of the conditions by which improvements in living conditions can be arrived at, as well as in the definition of the measures to arrive at such conditions. As a consequence, also the significance attached to social justice can be very diverse, as an expression of different views of the world and hence of different sets of normative tools to act within it.

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