ZipCode Calling: A Gathering for Christians Engaging the Built Environment
May 29, 2013 - Salt Lake City, Utah
THIS EVENT HAS PASSED, BUT DUE TO ITS OVERWHELMING SUCCESS WE WILL BE HOLDING MORE ZIPCODE CALLING EVENTS!
Watch this space for a forthcoming report and dates for future ZipCode Calling events.
CO-HOSTED BY THE FIRST CHRISTIAN REFORMED CHURCH OF SALT LAKE CITY (Pastor Brian Tebben)
SPONSORED BY CHRISTIANITY TODAY'S
God designed people to live in community and to inhabit places that nourish us physically, socially, culturally, and spiritually. In other words, people and places go together!
Although Christian pastors and leaders are well trained to care for the spiritual, personal, and community aspects of people’s lives, the average Christian leader has both a blind spot and an empty toolkit when it comes to assessing and interacting with the built environment. Few leaders, therefore, understand how neighborhoods, villages, towns, and cities---the places we create and inhabit--can be thoughtfully designed to contribute positively to human community and wellbeing (or not). Or to flip that around, most Christian pastors and leaders miss out on the joy and privilege of participating in the planning, design, and building of livable neighborhoods, downtowns, or cities that help nourish individuals and communities for generations (including the opportunity churches have to contribute to the built environment through their own building projects).
ZipCode Calling is a one-day event for Christian pastors and leaders that will help rectify this blind spot, or as Rich Sterns describes it, fill in a “hole in our gospel.” ZipCode Calling will not only help attendees to discover the principles of great placemaking, it will also provide them with tools to help design and build great places, or redesign, retrofit, and redeem hurting places in your community.
How We'll Do It:
TO LEARN MORE AND REGISTER GO TO THIS LINK
For three days in October, 2012 Christians helping to create the built environment such architects, planners, engineers, city managers, developers, elected officials, and community leaders convened in Buffalo NY for three simple but profound purposes.
• To meet, network, and help strengthen the community of fellow Christian professionals who share a vocational passion for the built environment and new urbanism.
• To analyze and assess the intellectual, spiritual, and missional landscape of the built environment and new urbanism as a project, and as a profession, from the perspective of Christian culture. In other words, what are Christians as individuals, communities, and institutions, i.e., colleges and universities, churches, mission and para-church organizations, etc., doing to intentionally and constructively engage the built environment, and what are its strengths, weaknesses, and gaps?
• To develop an agenda participants can roll up their sleeves and commit to implementing that will strengthen the Christian community’s contribution to creating a built environment that is best suited to the flourishing of human community and ecological sustainability.
In summary, the purpsoe of th gathering was to help catalyze a community; assess present conditions related to the built environment; and shape an agenda gathered leaders committed to advancing together as a group and as individuals within their own spheres of influence.
One of the main goals of CEL’s inaugural symposium on New Urbanism was to produce an agenda of practical ways to advance New Urbanism within the Christian community. The participants worked hard to formulate the following document. CEL, and the participants who attended the symposium, are committed to walking this agenda forward. We welcome other like-minded individuals and organizations who share our commitments, and resonate with this agenda, to join us.
1. Publish an online inventory of resources for Christian New Urbanists.
2. Write and publish a statement issued by this group of Christian New Urbanists for the purpose of explicating the compelling socio-cultural and ecological good we believe is integral to New Urbanism, its points of coherence with Christian faith, and its appeal as a vocation for Christians.
3. Develop (with church input) a New Urbanism workshop and toolkit for churches and parachurch organizations. This resource is intended for use by Christian New Urbanists to educate Christians and churches on urbanism, new urbanism, sustainable urbanism, suburban retrofits, a code for Christian communities and churches (see point #4), etc., and could be offered in conjunction with events such as CNU, CCDA, and other conferences and gatherings.
4. Develop a form-based code for use by Christian communities and churches that can be used in their building projects to create community.
5. Work to reform denominational building guides along New Urbanist principles for good urbanism.
6. Set forth, then implement, an academic agenda that supports Christians working in New Urbanism. Agenda items include:
a. Theological resources such as a bibliography and reading list.
b. A prioritized writing and publishing agenda focused on questions and issues concerning Christian New Urbanists.
c. A list of places worth visiting to experience and see good urbanism in practice. This would also include "urbanism" inspired by believers and/or the church, e.g. Pienza, Chautauqua, etc.
7. Develop a vocational service where Christian students interested in, or studying architecture, planning, development and construction, etc., can learn about and become engaged in New Urbanism (including internships at firms engaged in New Urbanist work). In addition to being online potential events where such a service could be offered are at conferences like Intervarsity’s Urbana and CCO’s Jubilee.
8. Develop outreach resources to denominations and like-minded groups (e.g., student groups, Habitat for Humanity, etc.), and communications that serve the Christian New Urbanist community (e.g., a website, Facebook group, media, etc.).
9. We agree to meet again in 2013. Possible dates include meeting a day before CNU21 in Salt Lake City, a day before the Christian Community Development Association annual conference, forming a cohort group at the Duke Divinity School Center for Reconciliation’s annual summer seminar, or a co-meeting with CEL’s annual Christian sustainability symposium.
CEL is grateful to the following individuals who comprised the planning committee for the symposium along with CEL's director Dr. Chris Elisara: Prof. Philip Bess (University of Notre Dame School of Architecture), Mike Watkins (architect & town planner), and Mel McGowan (Visioneering Studios).
The Congress for the New Urbanism's annual conference is a great event to learn about issues pertaining to the built environment. CNU's 20th anniversary conference was held in 2012. To review what happened, view some videos, and read news media stories on CNU20 go to this link. 2013's conference is in Salt Lake City May 29-June 1st and its theme is Living Communities. To learn more click this link.
A useful collection of informative and provocative videos on New Urbanism produced by First+Main Media (including the award-winning video "Built to Last") can be viewed at this link.
Mel McGowan gave an interesting talk on New Urbanism at the Q:Ideas conference entitled "Design Intervention" which can be viewed at this link.