Shaping debate on religion in public life.

Faith & Flourishing Neighbourhoods Network – February 2017 update

23 Feb 2017

Event report, February 2017: Ways forward and strategic aims.

The Faith and Flourishing Neighbourhoods Network gathered in Birmingham to progress the agenda for change identified through previous meetings and discussions.

Wider round-table and smaller group discussions were held to share knowledge and discern ways forward across five key areas:

  • Developing understanding of best practice in relation to space sharing between worship and community use in faith-based hubs
  • Developing training and resource toolkits to enable people of faith communities to be engaged, but also enable planners and developers to understand the importance of faith and belief
  • Facilitating lobbying and engaging the voices and perspectives of faith communities in planning and development processes
  • Inspiring a creative imagining of a public sphere where the religious and the secular can co-exist to produce flourishing and resilient communities – for example what does a 22nd century mosque look like?
  • Developing standardised research that can be used for lobbying, research, advocacy and campaigning

The network agreed to take its agenda forward by pursuing the following strategic aims:

  • A pilot case study of a shared space that engages many of the issues raised by this group – inclusion, gender, power, discourse etc. Funding will be sought for this.
  • A conference bringing together ‘Garden City’ or ‘New Town’ experiences. The purpose of this conference will be to strategically reflect on previous eras of town and community planning when it was explicitly linked to narratives, imaginaries, values and beliefs concerning what constituted flourishing localities, and to potentially create a coalition of institutes and individuals who will re-ignite this agenda, with explicit reference to the role of faith institutions and wider beliefs.
  • A conference for Muslim women that will provide a safe space for their views, wisdom and experiences of planning for safe and inclusive communities, as well as gender inclusive, multi-hub mosques and other worship spaces.

Proposals will be worked up by subgroups and shared with the wider network each other by the end of June 2017, with a progress meeting to follow in September.

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