Practical Spirituality and the Contemporary City: Awakening the Transformative Power for Sustainable Living

  • Christoph WoiwodeEmail author
  • Nisha Woiwode


Contemporary, modern urbanisation and planning are largely concerned with the outer, exterior dimensions of the built environment. Even though the highly debated and contested paradigm of sustainable urban development is deeply value-laden, mainstream urban planning solutions typically remain at a relatively superficial physical and technical level. In this article, we intend to offer an optimistic perspective of bringing to bear the concept of practical spirituality onto the realm of sustainable urban development. Socio-cultural shifts visible in many initiatives across the world demonstrate, especially in Western countries like Germany, a new awareness and practices of at times spiritually informed conscious living. A central theme is how deeper transformations at the individual and collective societal levels take place and in which way they are brought into the public policy domain of urban community or neighbourhood development. This is exemplified briefly by studying the approach of a community in the German town of Kassel and the transition town movement. The conclusion reflects on how three key areas of the discussion, spirit, place, and people may be reconnected for a sustainable urban future.


Urbanisation Urban planning Transformative development New spirituality Sustainability 

Key Authors

Justin Beaumont Fritjof Capra Marilyn Hamilton Leonie Sandercock Roy Bhaskar 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bath Spa UniversityBathUK
  2. 2.Indo-German Centre for SustainabilityIndian Institute of Technology MadrasChennaiIndia
  3. 3.BathUK

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