Spatial Justice Studio logo


The Spatial Justice Studio (SJS) seeks to establish and sustain interinstitutional, interdisciplinary, and inter-sectoral programs that bring faculty, students and the community together across disciplines into diverse experiences to develop meaningful solutions to issues related to spatial (in)justice. The SJS will explore alternative possibilities for urban areas and ways of achieving more equitable urban futures through active research agendas, engaged teaching practices and community based participatory research which will lead to the creation/regeneration of equitable, functional and sustainable communities for all.


Uneven distribution of resources
Just sustainability
Spatial planning
Gated communities
Urban resiliency
Climate change
Urban heat islands
Environmental justice
Smart cities
Food deserts
Local government boundary change Gerrymandering
Electoral redistricting
Access to healthcare
Transportation desert
Spatial mismatch



Mapping Prejudice in Forsyth County logo

Mapping Prejudice in
Forsyth County

This project works to identify and map systemic racism in the sale of property through racial covenants as a path toward change.

Spatial Justice Studio Faculty/Community Fellows Program

The Faculty / Community Fellows program is open to all faculty at UNCSA and WSSU, as well as interested community members. This year’s program will also allow past fellows to reapply for funding to continue their research into issues of spatial justice impacting the community.

Spatial Justice Indicators

This research proposal seeks to explore the issue of spatial justice through the development of a Spatial Justice Index (SJI). To date, most work associated with spatial justice has been qualitative and case study based. In this research, the SJI will be created by quantitatively exploring geographic (i.e. land uses, distance to parks, schools, vices, etc.), demographic (i.e. race, ethnicity, age, etc.) and socio-economic variables (i.e. income, education, poverty, etc.) of census tracts in an effort to apply the concept of spatial (in)justice to NC communities.

Application of Random Forest and SHAP Tree Explainer in Exploring Spatial (In)Justice to Aid Urban Planning


Use of Machine Learning in Exploring Spatial (In)Justices


A Planner’s quest for identifying spatial (in)justice in local communities: A case study of urban census tracts in North Carolina, USA


Forsyth County Neighborhood Opportunity Atlas website screen capture

Forsyth County Neighborhood Opportunity Atlas

The Spatial Justice Studio @ CDI, in partnership with Forsyth County, is developing a Neighborhood Opportunity Atlas to provide a holistic analysis of conditions across the county that can be used to identify, compare and assess neighborhoods in Forsyth County now and into the future for planning, programming, budgeting and evaluation. The atlas is an innovative, statistical, and geographic product that will provide quantitative census tract level information for a wide range of community indicators and begin a process to identify, target and tackle underperforming neighborhoods.



Dr. Russell M. Smith is a Professor of Geography in the Department of History, Politics & Social Justice and the Faculty Lead for the newly established Spatial Justice Studio at the Center for Design Innovation (SJS @ CDI). He received his doctoral degree in Geography from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. 



Spatial Injustice is Hurting Winston-Salem — Russell Smith

Triad Researchers Reveal Transportation’s Role In Economic MobilitySpatial Injustice is Hurting Winston-Salem — David Ford

Spatial Justice Can Resolve Problems — Russell Smith and John Railey

Beyond Color Blind Podcast — Spatial Justice

Beyond Color Blind Podcast — Redlining

Incorporation & Segregation, Dec. 2020, — Russell Smith and Zach Blizzard

Insight into Diversity, June 2021

A Manifesto for the Just City

Plant Fire Illuminates Historical Risks Faced by Communities of Color — John Deem

The Winston Weaver Fertilizer Fire and the Impact of Industry in Residential Areas — David Ford

Why were plants like Winston Weaver allowed in neighborhoods? — by David Ford

What the Winston-Salem Fire Says About Environmental Justice — by Adam Wagner

Sharing the Promise of Spatial Justice with Low Wealth Communities of Color Through Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Community Partnerships: Planning Practice & Research: Vol 0, No 0 – by Russell M. Smith

Research shows diverse housing can benefit social capital, students — by Rachel Midgette

As cancer aggravates food insecurity, community can help — by Camelia Singletary and Rebecca Stone

Riverkeeper group seeks to address environmental injustice in the Yadkin watershed — by Bailey Hill and Grace Fuchs

As de-annexation Senate vote looms, Summerfield Town Council to hold emergency meeting — David Ford

Reconnecting Winston-Salem’s 24 1/2 Street — by Andrew Britt

Separated, but self-sufficient: Protecting ‘Da Island’


Justice Spatiale – Spatial Justice
A forum for international debates about spatial justice, in a pluridisciplinary perspective.

Just Space—Community groups supporting each other on London planning
20 May: Just Space has responded to the document produced by the Mayor and still considers that the draft London Plan is unsound because the Public Sector Equalities Duty has not been discharged.

Spatial History Project – Stanford University
The Spatial History Project at Stanford University is a place for a collaborative community of students, staff, and scholars to engage in creative spatial, textual and visual analysis to further research in the humanities.

Spatial justice – Wikipedia
Spatial justice links together social justice and space, most notably in the works of geographers David Harvey and Edward W. Soja. The organization of space is a crucial dimension of human societies and reflects social facts and influences social relations (Henri Lefebvre, 1968, 1972).Consequently, both justice and injustice become visible in space.

Segregated by Design
‘Segregated By Design’ examines the forgotten history of how our federal, state and local governments unconstitutionally segregated every major metropolitan area in America through law and policy.

The City and Spatial Justice — Edward W. Soja

Spatial Justice and Planning — Susan S. Fainstein

Spatial Justice: Towards an Ethics of Spatial Equity — J. Bissett-Scott, Delle Odeleye, Ian Frame

Spatializing the Urban, Part I — Edward Soja

Why Discuss Spatial Justice in Urbanism Studies? — Roberto Rocco

Winston-Salem’s Residential Segregation History — Elizabeth A. Herbin-Triant

Spatial Justice Network

NSF HBCU-UP TIP — URBAN STUDIES & SUSTAINABILITY: Incorporating Data Science into the Urban Studies & Sustainability Curriculum

WSSU’s Target Infusion Project titled – Integrating Data Science into the Urban Studies & Sustainability Program (TIP – IDSUSSP) seeks to expose undergraduate students interested in the field of Urban Studies & Sustainability to data science. Through the use of data, urban studies can help reshape the world’s cities into more sustainable places.



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Spatial Justice Studio
Center for Design Innovation
450 Design Ave,

Winston-Salem, NC 27101