Religion and sustainable urban planning: ‘If you can’t count it, or won’t count it, it doesn’t count’

Greed, C. (2016) Religion and sustainable urban planning: ‘If you can’t count it, or won’t count it, it doesn’t count’. Sustainable Development, 24 (3). pp. 154-162. ISSN 0968-0802 Available from:

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Abstract British town planning developed as a secular humanistic profession, which was subsequently exported to the Developing World through the British Empire and subsequently the Commonwealth. Modern western planning sought to bring order to perceived chaos and to create scientifically-ordered cities through Master Plans, based on land-use zoning which ‘efficiently’ divided cities into employment, residential and recreational zones. Conceptually, the predominance of economic considerations marginalised the creative importance of religious and spiritual capital in urban form and development. But, paradoxically, zoning comprises a secularised and highly-patriarchal outworking of ancient Judeo-Christian beliefs on the separation of pure and impure, male and female, good and evil. Methodologically, the paper adapts techniques used in ‘Gender and Planning’ research, to reveal the planners’ blind spots in respect of ‘God and Planning’ too. Examples of the lack of recognition and accommodation of religious needs by city planners are drawn from research on the experiences of immigrant Pentecostal congregations in the UK. Lessons are highlighted that need to be heeded in Developing -World cities, which are increasingly subject to spiritually-ignorant modern planning policies. Religion is marginalised and only likely to be included as part of the work of charity and relief agencies within localised communities, but not as a major component of high-level urban policy development. In conclusion, an adaptation of gender mainstreaming techniques is proposed to enable the full integration of spiritual and religious considerations into planning policy within Developing-World Cities.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:religion, urban planning, sustainable development
Faculty/Department:Faculty of Environment and Technology > Department of Architecture and the Built Environment
ID Code:29946
Deposited By: Professor C. Greed
Deposited On:26 Sep 2016 14:34
Last Modified:22 May 2017 09:12

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