Spatial Justice Thesis Award

We are looking for outstanding Master graduation theses, written at Dutch institutions (in English), which contemplate aspects of justice, democracy building and participation in urban development and renewal.

These may include theses developed in urbanism, spatial planning, urban design, landscape architecture and environmental technology and related fields of knowledge that are concerned with the built environment and urban development.

What makes this prize special is its focus on SPATIAL JUSTICE, democracy and participation as key concepts in urban development.

Architects and urbanists seem to dodge issues of democracy, justice, and redistribution; instead they focus on the technical or aesthetic aspects of their professional activity. This is not acceptable. Justice and fairness in urban development must be continuously and critically discussed, or else we risk forming generations of young urbanists who are unprepared to face the challenges ahead. Cities and regions that are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable and fair are not a “given”, they are an achievement.

The activities involved in spatial planning and design are at the very core of this achievement. 

Spatial justice refers to general access to public goods, basic services, cultural goods, economic opportunity and healthy environments through fair, inclusive and efficient spatial planning, design and management of urban and rural spaces and resources.

Spatial justice is crucial to support more equitable and fair societies and to promote the full realisation of human potentials. In order to achieve spatial justice, we must work towards sustainable governance, fair redistribution of resources, and equitable distribution of and access to spatial benefits and opportunities. These conditions will be more easily achieved through democracy and participation, but research and education have a huge role to play.

Spatial planners and designers have a highly central role in achieving spatial justice, as shapers of innovative spatial and institutional relationships between civil society, the public sector and the private sector and designers of sustainable structures and processes.


The prize consists of €300 in cash, plus a TU Delft publication. The winner will be awarded a certificate by the chair of Spatial Planning and Strategy, and the Department of Urbanism, of the TU Delft.

Visit this page for instructions on how to submit.

*The Spatial Planning Thesis Award is made possible by a bequest of the “MEGACITIES FOUNDATION”. In 2014, the board of the Megacities Foundation decided to interrupt its activities and to bequest a sum of money to the SPS Chair. We are profoundly thankful for the opportunity to put this money to use in this way.

Responsible people:

Prof. Vincent Nadin, Chair of Spatial Planning and Strategy, TU Delft.

Dr. Roberto Rocco, Assistant Professor, SPS, TU Delft.

Dr. Ana Maria Fernandez-Maldonado, Senior Researcher, SPS, TU Delft.

Eligible theses must have been presented between September 2014 and July 2015.

Deadline for submissions: SEPTEMBER 30, 2015. For more information, please write to Roberto Rocco.


Target: Master theses in areas dealing with the planning and design of the built environment with a focus on SPATIAL JUSTICE, GOVERNANCE, PARTICIPATION and the strengthening of DEMOCRACY, written at Dutch institutions, in English.

Areas of knowledge:  Urbanism, spatial planning, urban design, landscape architecture and environmental technology.

Criteria: The thesis must demonstrate a central concern for issues of spatial justice and governance in areas of knowledge concerned with the built environment, policy making, spatial planning and design.

The jury will use the following criteria in judging the application:

1. Academic excellence: structured and critical analysis and clear argumentation and language

2. A critical understanding of spatial justice as a concept and as a practical framework

3. Potential societal impact and relevance 


Only applications that meet the requirements will be presented to the jury. The jury will prepare a short report justifying their choice off the three best applications. The Chair of Spatial Planning will announce the short listed theses on World Urbanism Day (November 8th) and the award will take place on a date to be chosen at the end of November.

Eligibility: Theses presented to a Dutch institution in the year previous to the call. The nationality of the student submitting the thesis is irrelevant.


The abstract will be assessed by a  jury composed by members of various institutions.


Theses will be selected from a pool of submitted theses. A committee composed by members of the sponsoring institutions and leading scholars will assess submitted works.

Regularity: Annual

Award: Cash prize and a certificate, accompanied by an award ceremony. 



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