Towards a Just Urban Transition: Promises and Pitfalls for Asian Cities

Main Article Content

Chloe Pottinger-Glass


         Despite mounting global attention to the need for Just Transition, there is a gap in scholarship that examines the complex implications of these shifts in cities-moreover, a lack of attention to just urban transition in cities of the Global South. Drawing from the literature review and purposive interviews, this article proposes key principles to guide a just urban transition and discusses various themes and examples from the perspective of Asian cities. These include density, 15-minute cities, smart cities, urban greening, and good green jobs.

Article Details

บทความวิจัย (Research Article)


Anguelovski, I., Connolly, J. J., Garcia-Lamarca, M., Cole, H., & Pearsall, H. (2019). New scholarly pathways on green gentrification: What does the urban ‘green turn’ mean and where is it going?. Progress in Human Geography, 43(6), 1064–1086.

Archer, D., & Adelina, C. (2021). Labour, Waste and the Circular Economy in Bangkok. [Online]. Retrieved from

Armstrong McKay, D. I., et al. (2022). Exceeding 1.5°C global warming could trigger multiple climate tipping points. Science, 377(6611), eabn7950.

Atichartakarn, N. (2022, July). Waste Hero Alliance—Social Fiction Thinkathon. Policy workshop. Hosted by Yunus Thailand.

Atta-ur-Rahman, Parvin, G. A., Shaw, R., & Surjan, A. (2016). Cities, Vulnerability, and Climate Change. Urban Disasters and Resilience in Asia, 35–47.

Banerjee, S. (2022). APEC 2022: Pros and cons of BCG Bangkok model. Observer Research Foundation. [Online]. Retrieved from

Boukerche, A., & Coutinho, R. W. L. (2018). Smart Disaster Detection and Response System for Smart Cities. 2018 IEEE Symposium on Computers and Communications (ISCC), 01102–01107.

Brandi, C. (2021). Managing urbanisation—A global and just approach. Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.

C40 Cities. (2022). C40 cities to drive the creation of 50 million good, green jobs by 2030 [Press release]. [Online]. Retrieved from

C40 Cities. (2023). Green and Just Transition. [Online]. Retrieved from

Cedefop. (2021). The green employment and skills transformation: Insights from a European Green Deal skills forecast scenario. [Online]. Retrieved from

Chomsky, N., & Pollin, R. (2020). Climate crisis and the global green new deal: The political economy of saving the planet. Verso Books.

Chowdhury, S. (2021). South Korea’s Green New Deal in the year of transition [UNDP]. [Online]. Retrieved from

Cities Alliance. (2021). Femmedina Inclusive City Programme in Tunis: An assessment of women’s participation in the Medina of Tunis. [Online]. Retrieved from

Coletta, C., Evans, L., Heaphy, L., & Kitchin, R. (Eds.). (2019). Creating smart cities. Routledge.

Dobrusin, B. (2022). A Just Transition for Urban Transport Workers: Issues and Experiences from Unions in Cities of the Global South. International Transport Workers’ Federation.

Ha Noi Ad Hoc. (n.d.). Hanoi Ad Hoc 1.0 // Architecture, Factories and (Re)Tracing the Modern Dream of Recent Past. [Online]. Retrieved from

Heffron, R. J. (2021). What is the “Just Transition”?. Achieving a Just Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy, 9–19.

Huber, M. T. (2022). Climate Change as Class War: Building Socialism on a Warming Planet. Verso.

Hughes, S., & Hoffmann, M. (2020). Just urban transitions: Toward a research agenda. WIREs Climate Change, 11(3), e640.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (2023). Cities, Settlements and Key Infrastructure. [Online]. Retrieved from

International Labour Organization. (n.d.). Frequently Asked Questions on Just Transition. [Online]. Retrieved from

International Trade Union Confederation. (2022). COP27 establishes work program on just transition with social dialogue and social protection at its heart. [Online]. Retrieved from

Jones, L. R., Cherry, C. R., Vu, T. A., & Nguyen, Q. N. (2013). The effect of incentives and technology on the adoption of electric motorcycles: A stated choice experiment in Vietnam. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 57, 1–11.

Khavarian-Garmsir, A. R., Sharifi, A., & Sadeghi, A. (2023). The 15-minute city: Urban planning and design efforts toward creating sustainable neighborhoods. Cities, 132, 104101.

Kolokotsa, D., Lilli, A. A., Lilli, M. A., & Nikolaidis, N. P. (2020). On the impact of nature-based solutions on citizens’ health & well being. Energy and Buildings, 229, 110527.

Le, M., & Hung, N. T. (2021). Towards Social-Ecological Transformation in Viet Nam: Building the Urban Future: Participation, Housing and Transportation. Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.

Maharjan, M., Aryal, A., Man Shakya, B., Talchabhadel, R., Thapa, B. R., & Kumar, S. (2021). Evaluation of Urban Heat Island (UHI) Using Satellite Images in Densely Populated Cities of South Asia. Earth, 2(1), Article 1.

McCauley, D., & Heffron, R. (2018). Just transition: Integrating climate, energy and environmental justice. Energy Policy, 119, 1–7.

Moora, H., & Barde, H. (2019). Closing the loop: Innovative partnerships with informal workers to recover plastic waste, in an inclusive circular economy approach. Pune, India case study. [Online]. Retrieved from

Moreno, C., Allam, Z., Chabaud, D., Gall, C., & Pratlong, F. (2021). Introducing the “15-Minute City”: Sustainability, Resilience and Place Identity in Future Post-Pandemic Cities. Smart Cities, 4(1), 93–111.

Morgan, J. (2020). Degrowth: Necessary, urgent and good for you. Real-World Economics Review, (93), 113-131.

Parr, A. (2014). The Wrath of Capital: Neoliberalism and Climate Change Politics. Columbia University Press.

Pucher, J., & Buehler, R. (2008). Making Cycling Irresistible: Lessons from The Netherlands, Denmark and Germany. Transport Reviews, 28(4), 495–528.

Purcell, M. (2002). Excavating Lefebvre: The right to the city and its urban politics of the inhabitant. GeoJournal, 58(2/3), 99–108.

Reid, C. (2023). Rishi Sunak’s Attack On 15-Minute Cities Is ‘Baffling’ And ‘Concerning’ Says Originator Of Concept. [Online]. Retrieved from

Sánchez-Corcuera, R., et al. (2019). Smart cities survey: Technologies, application domains and challenges for the cities of the future. International Journal of Distributed Sensor Networks, 15(6), 155014771985398.

Satterthwaite, D., et al. (2020). Building Resilience to Climate Change in Informal Settlements. One Earth, 2(2), 143–156.

Thai PBS World. (2022). How far can Thailand’s ambitious BCG push go in the APEC community?. [Online]. Retrieved from

United Nations. (2021). UN chief promotes “enormous” benefits of greener cities. [Online]. Retrieved from

United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. (2014). Population Facts: Our urbanizing world. [Online]. Retrieved from population/publications/pdf/popfacts/PopFacts_2014-3.pdf.

United Nations Development Programme. (2022). Inclusion of Informal Waste Workers (IWWs) in the transition to sustainable waste management, Issue Brief. [Online]. Retrieved from

United Nations Economists Network. (2023). Thematic brief: A global green new deal for a sustainable recovery and a resilient future. [Online]. Retrieved from

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. (2022). Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan. [Online]. Retrieved from

UN-Habitat. (2020). The New Urban Agenda. United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat).

Urban Innovative Actions. (2022). Inception Report. [Online]. Retrieved from

WBGU German Advisory Council on Global Change. (2016). Humanity on the move: Unlocking the transformative potential of cities. [Online]. Retrieved from

Werner, S. (2017). International review of district heating and cooling. Energy, 137, 617–631.

WeSolve Foundation. (2021). Case Study: Mobilizing Public Transport Champions with the Move As One Coalition. [Online]. Retrieved from

Wissen, M., & Brand, U. (2017). (Re)producing inequality: Production and consumption under the imperial mode of living. Global Labour Column.

Wolch, J. R., Byrne, J., & Newell, J. P. (2014). Urban green space, public health, and environmental justice: The challenge of making cities ‘just green enough’. Landscape and Urban Planning, 125, 234–244.

Xiao, G., Xue, L. & Woetzel, J. (2010). The Urban Sustainability Index: A New Tool for Measuring China’s Cities. [Online]. Retrieved from

Zander, K. K., Richerzhagen, C., & Garnett, S. T. (2019). Human mobility intentions in response to heat in urban South East Asia. Global Environmental Change, 56, 18–28.