As cities are take on ever greater political, economic and cultural importance, inequality in cities is an increasing concern. The literature is rich in analysis of the causes of growing inequality in the city, as a distinct topic from inequality in the state, but lacks sufficient understanding and definitions of what it is for a city to have an egalitarian spirit. Combining analytical political philosophy with 182 interviews with city-zens in cities around the world, we propose a new definition of inequality in the city: (i) access to the city’s services is not constituted by the market; (ii) equal opportunity to achieve a sense of meaningful life; (iii) diversity and social mixing, without a monolithic culture; (iv) inclusion without deference or submissiveness, and lack of spatial representation of difference. Our key finding is that in an egalitarian city all residents have a secure sense of place
Jonathan Wolff is the Alfred Landecker Professor of Values and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford. He works on democracy, equality, disadvantage, social justice and poverty, as well as applied topics such as public safety, disability, gambling, and the regulation of recreational drugs. His publications include An Introduction to Moral Philosophy (2nd ed 2020), Ethics and Public Policy: A Philosophical Inquiry (2nd edition 2019) An Introduction to Political Philosophy (3rd ed 2016); The Human Right to Health (2012), Disadvantage (OUP 2007), with Avner de-Shalit, Why Read Marx Today? (OUP 2002), and Robert Nozick (Polity 1991).
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