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Planning for diversity and sustainable spatial planning religion space gender and ethnicity

Greed, Clara


Clara Greed


The urban planning policy agenda is strongly influenced by sustainability objectives with particular emphasis upon environmental issues. But, the original definition was much broader and included economic well-being and social equality as well as environmental balance. But it is environmental sustainability, as illustrated in this paper with reference to the UK, that has become the ersatz religion and zeitgeist of politicians, urban policy makers and academics (Boot, 2014: 186). However worthy and admirable it might sound to be concerned about ‘saving the Planet’, in reality this agenda provides little space for social policy (Dempsey et al, 2011), or for taking into account the wider value base of the policy makers, or the beliefs and religions of the planned. There is little consideration given to the ways in which particular sustainability policies might impact upon different groups of human beings in society, in terms of their class, gender, lifestyle and religion and so forth. Likewise there is little linkage between sustainability policy and social issues such as poverty, social exclusion, disability, unemployment, and homelessness. A strict application of sustainability policy, which puts environmental concerns above human considerations, may actually exacerbate the situation by creating a people-less approach to planning (Greed, 2011). In the UK, the 2010 Equality Act lists seven protected categories that should be taken into account in all aspects of government policy making, including (in theory at least) urban planning. These are Age; Disability; Gender Reassignment; Pregnancy and Maternity; Race; Sex (gender) and Sexual Orientation; and Religion and Belief. However, overall equality issues tend to be given low priority compared with environmental considerations (Greed, 2005; 2017). Religion is on the list but it does not follow that it will get as much attention as the other categories. Some issues are higher up the pecking order than others, and nowadays sexuality tends to be given primary attention as the factor defining a person’s identity (Habermas and Ratzinger, 2007). Social class (which does not even appear on the list) used to be the primary social factor, arguably because planners could justify their unpopular policies by claiming they were planning for the working class and knew what was best for society. Religion, faith and belief, as will be explained, are very low on the pecking order.


Greed, C. (2017, July). Planning for diversity and sustainable spatial planning religion space gender and ethnicity. Paper presented at AESOP conference 2017 'Space of Dialogue for Places of Dignity

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name AESOP conference 2017 'Space of Dialogue for Places of Dignity
Start Date Jul 11, 2017
End Date Jul 14, 2017
Acceptance Date Feb 1, 2017
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Keywords religion, gender, equality, urban planning, zoning, pentecostalism, ethnicity, change of use, planning law
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : AESOP Lisbon 2017 Association of European Schools of Planning Conference