Justice as everyday life: urban conflict and civic space


Wendy Pullan (Cambridge)

Can we speak of spaces of justice? If so, how and where might this happen in contemporary cities? The abstract nature of legal systems makes it difficult to apply them to everyday life in cities, resulting in disjunctures between urban spatial practice and justice. This becomes more complicated when political situations begin to unravel in conditions of heavy conflict. Nonetheless, cities are often more robust that we initially expect and the order and processes of everyday life often contribute and sustain when more formal procedures become feeble. I shall consider these problems and possibilities in the physical space of cities, particularly focusing on two prominent and problematic sites: Damascus Gate in Jerusalem and Martyrs Square in Beirut.


Wendy Pullan is Professor of Architecture and Urban Studies and Director of the Centre for Urban Conflicts Research at the University of Cambridge. She has published widely on European and Middle Eastern architecture and cities, examining the processes of urban heritage, conflict and change, both historical and contemporary. Her recent publications include: Locating Urban Conflicts (2013), The Struggle for Jerusalem’s Holy Places (2013), ‘Violent infrastructures, places of conflict’ (Sage 2018) and she is presently writing Urban Agonistes: On the nature of urban conflict. She is a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge. Further details: https://www.urbanconflicts.arct.cam.ac.uk/.

W.T.C. Walker Lecture in Architectural History