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Living on the Streets

Times in Hamilton are changing. Theories of secularization have been discredited in many circles as unable to account for the true complexity of human life. People are taking a renewed interest in the role played by religion, both in theoretical perspective and in personal commitment.

Living on the Streets suggests that established religious communities—churches, synagogues, mosques, and the like—are institutions with a critical role to play in the urban life of Hamilton. In this study researchers Michael Van Pelt and Richard Greydanus work through several case studies of churches in the city of Hamilton, and examine in what ways they contribute to urban life. Working from within New Urbanist models this study presents the idea that churches transcend social boundaries, sustain immanent community engagement and services, draw membership back into urban downtowns, cultivate private investment and protect sacred spaces. The ideas from Living on the Streets can inform many different urban contexts, and were used as the basis for our presentations at the World Urban Forum, 2006.

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