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Postsecular planning? The idea of municipal spirituality

McClymont, Katie

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Katie McClymont
Associate Professor in Urban Planning


© 2015 Taylor & Francis. In the contemporary political context, religion is rarely out of the news, usually postulated as a regressive force, battling against modern liberal Western values. However, in everyday life, and specifically with regard to place value, the situation is more complex. This paper addresses the challenge this context and the attendant notion of postsecularism bring to planning practice. It argues that religious and spiritual values can be rearticulated as concepts which add a substantive positive dimension to planning and its conceptualisation and constructions of place. This is done by developing the notion of municipal spirituality, which draws on the theological conceptions of transcendence and the common good to redefine the value of places whose worth cannot easily be made in instrumental terms. In so doing, it challenges the current antagonistic opposition of religious and liberal democratic values, repositioning religious and spiritual concepts in an inclusive way. The idea of municipal spirituality illustrates how planning could have a role in defending and promoting such places. Further, it demonstrates the importance of engaging in agonistic rather than antagonistic debate, rearticulating the criteria on which places can be valued by planning practice.


McClymont, K. (2015). Postsecular planning? The idea of municipal spirituality. Planning Theory and Practice, 16(4), 535-554.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 11, 2015
Online Publication Date Dec 17, 2015
Publication Date Dec 17, 2015
Deposit Date Jan 8, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jun 17, 2017
Journal Planning Theory and Practice
Print ISSN 1464-9357
Electronic ISSN 1470-000X
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Issue 4
Pages 535-554
Keywords postsecularism, spirituality, values, nature, community, cemeteries
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