Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


IAS Book Launch: City of Equals by Jonathan Wolff and Avner de-Shalit

17 October 2024, 5:00 pm–7:00 pm

On green background, bookcover in the middle and on the left and right each a portrait of one of the two authors

Join us for the launch of 'City of Equals', a book that 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.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to

All | UCL staff | UCL students






Institute of Advanced Studies


IAS Common Ground
G11, ground floor, South Wing
UCL, Gower St, London

***Please note: this event has been moved from 30 May to 17 October 2024***

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, combining their own reflections, a multi-disciplinary literature review, and, distinctively, more than 180 interviews in 10 cities in 6 countries, Wolff and de Shalit have derived 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 person 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': each person 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.

Join the authors, Professor Jonathan Woolf (University of Oxford) and Professor Avner De-Shalit (Hebrew University) who will be in conversation with Dr Marta Wojciechowski (Department of Political Economy, King’s College) and Professor Peg Rawes (Architecture and Philosophy, The Bartlett, UCL)

The launch will be followed by a reception.

To learn more about the book, please visit Oxford Academic.


About the Speakers

Jonathan Woolf

at University of Oxford

Jonathan Wolff (FBA) is the Alfred Landecker Professor of Values and Public Policy and Governing Body Fellow at Wolfson College. He was formerly Blavatnik Chair in Public Policy at the School, and before that Professor of Philosophy and Dean of Arts and Humanities at UCL. He is a political philosopher who works on questions of inequality, disadvantage and social justice.

More about Jonathan Woolf

Avner De-Shalit

at Hebrew University

Avner De-Shalit is Professor of Political Science, Hebrew University. He holds a D.Phil. from Oxford University and has served as head of the department, head of the PPE programme and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences. His research approach is empirically based political philosophy. His research is about environmental politics, politics in the city, and poverty and inequality.

More about Avner De-Shalit