Sustainable Cities and Communities

Living Edition
| Editors: Walter Leal Filho, Anabela Marisa Azul, Luciana Brandli, Pinar Gökcin Özuyar, Tony Wall

Rethinking Empowerment: Seeking Justice, Not Just Sustainability

  • Yanjun CaiEmail author
Living reference work entry


Empowerment is a central element in social policies and programs. There is a long history regarding the concept and practice of empowerment. The term empowerment has been commonly used in different fields in the past few decades, including education, sociology, psychology, geography, management, public health, social work, urban planning, and political science (Hur 2006). It is often associated with particular population groups with fewer advantages, including poor people, women, youth, the elderly, persons with disabilities, indigenous populations, and persons in situations of conflict (Division for Social Policy and Development 2012).

According to the Empowerment Bookletproduced by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) of the United Nations Secretariat, empowerment is regarded as “the process of enabling people to increase control over their lives, to gain control over the factors and decisions that shape their lives, to increase their resources and...

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In addition to Elisa Conticelli’s thorough editorial review, a sincere thank you to Scott Drinkall and Shahin Rahman for their valuable insights that significantly improved the manuscript


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Urban Climate Resilience in Southeast Asia Partnership, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public PolicyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

Section editors and affiliations

  • Elisa Conticelli
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BolognaBolognaItaly