John Rawl’s A Theory of Justice, and Justice as Fairness were originally intended to promote a political structure of liberal democracy. Taken together with Habermas’ idea of ’discourse ethics’, this work has constituted a fundamental aspect of the communicative approach in the planning discipline over the past 20 years. While their work is quite theoretical, it need not be detached from the reality of day- to-day practice. We agree with O’Neill that the work toward greater justice and fairness is eminently practical, and so should derive from their work. In particular, we are interested in advancing justice/fairness in the arena of public infrastructure planning and design through the careful integration of dialogic group processes, technologies of representation, and the opportunistic use of quantitative analysis and decision support tools for public meetings, so as to better realize Rawls’ principles in concrete, day-to-day processes. Translating the combined objectives of distributive, procedural, and access justice into practical public meeting processes requires attention to the nature of trade-offs that arise, and highlights the functional benefits of using Rawls’ concept of the Veil of Ignorance.

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Notes/Citation Information

Published in Proceedings of Real CORP 2007, p. 291-296.

The copyright holder has granted the permission for posting the article here.