Judith Hermanson


This article describes IHC Global’s “Smart City. Just City” initiative which it launched at a panel at the ninth World Urban Forum (WUF 9) held in Kuala Lumpur in February 2018.  The initiative is a key component of IHC Global’s commitment to the New Urban Agenda and to achieving the aims of Global Goal 11.  By seeking to align two different approaches to urban development – the technology driven “smart city” approach and the “social justice” informed “just city” approach – its goal is to fill a policy and practice gap with a policy framework and supporting indicators which will enable cities to intentionally use technology to achieve greater inclusiveness and equity and so to create places and spaces which are both “smart” and “just.” 
Too often “smart cities” focus on technology almost exclusively and when other benefits are seen as “by-products” of the technology.  On the other hand, the human-centered focus of “just cities” too often fails to think sufficiently progressively or to use available technologies to advance its goals.  “Smart City. Just City” aims to bring these two approaches together, to show that “technology” and “human centeredness” are not mutually exclusive terms and that the often private-sector driven use of technology can in fact serve “public good” purposes when these purposes are intentionally pursued.  IHC Global’s premise is that when a city uses smart technology with the purpose to achieve greater inclusiveness and justice, divisions will be lessened; economic opportunities will be more plentiful and widely available; a large number of people will be more robustly prepared to cope with natural and other “shocks”; and the city, as a whole, will prosper.


How to Cite
Hermanson, J. (2018) “Smart City, Just City. An IHC Global Initiative in Support of the New Urban Agenda”, The Journal of Public Space, 3(1), pp. 179–186. doi: 10.5204/jps.v3i1.328.
Reports from 9th World Urban Forum
Author Biography

Judith Hermanson, IHC Global

Judith Hermanson is the President and CEO of IHC Global, a membership coalition focused on meeting the challenges of rapid urban growth including adequate housing, property rights and secure tenure. IHC Global also links local and global conversations providing practical solutions and policy friendly research in support of more equitable urban development. She publishes and lectures frequently on international urban issues. Judith’s previously was Deputy Executive Director and COO of the Pan American Development Foundation and Executive Vice President of Cooperative Housing Foundation International (now Global Communities), where she received the National Association of Housing and Rehabilitation Officials (NAHRO) John D. Lange International Award for work in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Her academic experience includes professor of public administration, Northern Illinois University and Inaugural Director of its degree-granting NGO Leadership and Development Center and Senior Fellow, Urban Poverty, InterAction.
Judith has worked in 50+ countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Europe and the US, providing hands on technical assistance and policy advice. Her AB (high honors) is from Smith College and PhD from George Washington University. She received an honorary doctorate from the American University of Paris for her services to international education and development.