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Urban place-shaping: working together for social and ecological transformation

22/11/2019 12:21

On 15th November, people from a wide range of backgrounds gathered in Liverpool for the second of our autumn impact events. The event was convened by William Temple Scholar Gill Reeve to consider some of the latest research on place-shaping and discuss how this might inform practice. Gill writes…

We met in St Michael in the City, in the heart of Liverpool, which grounded our thinking by providing a case study for our reflections. Many of us were inspired by the work of Faiths4Change, a small charity that has transformed derelict land around the church into a thriving community garden where people meet, grow food, and eat together. But there was also honesty about the many challenges faced in bringing about sustainable change and transformation. Chris Ives (from Nottingham University) presented his thinking on values and the ‘inner dimensions of sustainability’, which can be seen to underpin, and provide important leverage for, change.

In the afternoon we investigated together what our own responses might be and how our own values might inform our practice. There are no simple solutions to the complex problems involved in social and ecological transformation, but we had some helpful discussions. Issues raised included: the vital processes of listening to local communities, the relationship between values and practice, how faith and belief inform values, and the reasons why changes in behaviour patterns are complex.

I came away from the day energised by the discussions and very encouraged to meet so many people who care deeply about enabling urban places to flourish both socially and ecologically.


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