Religious faith in the exurban community

Baker, Christopher. 2005. Religious faith in the exurban community. City, 9(1), pp. 109-123. ISSN 1360-4813 [Article]

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In this case‐study of Milton Keynes in the UK, Christopher Baker looks at how new urban forms and phenomena have affected the ability of the Christian Church to engage with the community. Drawing on North American concepts such as Joel Garreau’s ‘Edge City’ and Ed Soja’s ‘Exopolis’, he uses the term ‘exurban communities’ as ‘a generic description of those urban spaces that have developed over recent years as a result of continuous urban decentralization’. These postmodern spaces are characterized by consumerism and privatization. The Church, held back by a ‘quasi‐rural and romanticized’ image of itself in which it operates as the heart of the community, has been unable to adjust to these newly decentralized urban forms. To become relevant once more Baker concludes that it must reconceive urban community as a ‘process of flows’ rather than a geographical place. Building on previous work in CITY linking theology and urbanism (see Andrew Davey’s ‘Theology, theory and urban praxis’, in CITY 7(3), pp. 419–422, for example), this paper develops a useful contribution to the current debate in the UK about the future role of the church. At the same time the author provides a critique of the neoliberal city, linking to the themed material in this issue, arguing against the ‘postmodern gospel of salvation’, driven by a belief in happiness through technology and material comfort, and of ‘…the current notion of individualism which is expressed in terms of the right and freedom to consume whatever is required, regardless of the cost to others’.

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Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS)



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Date Deposited:

10 Oct 2017 10:27

Last Modified:

10 Oct 2017 10:27

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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