1st Edition

Sacred Civics Building Seven Generation Cities

Edited By Jayne Engle, Julian Agyeman, Tanya Chung-Tiam-Fook Copyright 2022
    272 Pages 46 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    272 Pages 46 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Sacred Civics argues that societal transformation requires that spirituality and sacred values are essential to reimagining patterns of how we live, organize and govern ourselves, determine and distribute wealth, inhabit and design cities, and construct relationships with others and with nature.

    The book brings together transdisciplinary and global academics, professionals, and activists from a range of backgrounds to question assumptions that are fused deep into the code of how societies operate, and to draw on extraordinary wisdom from ancient Indigenous traditions; to social and political movements like Black Lives Matter, the commons, and wellbeing economies; to technologies for participatory futures where people collaborate to reimagine and change culture. Looking at cities and human settlements as the sites of transformation, the book focuses on values, commons, and wisdom to demonstrate that how we choose to live together, to recognize interdependencies, to build, grow, create, and love—matters.

    Using multiple methodologies to integrate varied knowledge forms and practices, this truly ground-breaking volume includes contributions from renowned and rising voices. Sacred Civics is a must-read for anyone interested in intersectional discussions on social justice, inclusivity, participatory design, healthy communities, and future cities.

    The Open Access version of this book, available at http://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9781003199816, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.


    1 Imagine Shaping Cities as if People, Land, and Nature Were Sacred

    Jayne Engle, Julian Agyeman, and Tanya Chung-Tiam-Fook

    2 Awakening Seven Generation Cities

    Tanya Chung-Tiam-Fook, Jayne Engle, and Julian Agyeman

    PART I Space

    3 Honouring the Sacred in Cities: Indigenous Teachings for City Building

    Tanya Chung-Tiam-Fook

    4 The Black Commons: A Framework for Recognition, Reconciliation, Reparations

    Julian Agyeman and Kofi Boone

    5 (Un)situated Improvisation

    AbdouMaliq Simone

    6 Co-creating the Cities We Deserve through Indigenous Knowledge

    Ginger Gosnell-Myers

    PART II Time

    7 Unsettling the Coloniality of Foresight

    Aarathi Krishnan

    8 Inhabiting the Edge

    Edgar Pieterse

    9 Reconciling Relationships with the Land through Land Acknowledgements

    Deborah McGregor and Emma Nelson

    10 Urban Planning Oscillations: Seeking a Tongan Way before and after the 2006 Riots

    Yvonne Takau and Michelle Thompson-Fawcett

    PART III Agency

    11 Social Infrastructure for Our Times: Building Participatory Systems that Value the Creativity of Everyone

    Jayne Engle, Tessy Britton, and Pamela Glode-Desrochers

    12 The Ceremony of Reclaiming Agency through Wonder

    Catherine Tàmmaro

    13 Feminist, Antiracist Values for Climate Justice: Moving beyond Climate Isolationism

    Jennie C. Stephens

    PART IV Togetherness

    14 Participatory Futures: Reimagining the City Together

    Kathy Peach and Laurie Smith

    15 Basque Civics

    Gorka Espiau and Itziar Moreno

    16 Commons Economies in Action: Mutualizing Urban Provisioning Systems

    Michel Bauwens, Rok Kranjc, and Jose Ramos

    17 Radicle Civics—Unconstituting Society: Building 21st-Century Civic Infrastructures

    Fang-Jui "Fang-Raye" Chang and Indy Johar


    Jayne Engle is Adjunct Professor of Urban Planning at McGill University, Canada.

    Julian Agyeman is Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, Tufts University, USA.

    Tanya Chung-Tiam-Fook is Director of Research & Academic Programs at the Centre for Indigenous Innovation and Technology, Toronto, Canada.

    "Creative, hopeful, audacious. Here is a book that the city building professions have been, unknowingly, waiting for. Transcending technical and policy ‘fixes’, this book addresses the cultural and spiritual dimensions of shaping cities as if people, land, and nature were sacred. An impressive, pluriversal collection of essays, asking arguably THE most important question of our era: what will it take to build seven generation cities?"

    Leonie Sandercock, FRSC, Professor in Community Planning, University of British Columbia, Canada


    "Sacred Civics offers a forward-looking framework that re-imagines what our cities can be if we change our mindset to a more relational one. Through the voices of scholars and practitioners, the book gives a blueprint for how to put into practice the transformative ideas and principles so well articulated here. A wonderful achievement."

    Sheila R. Foster, Professor at Georgetown University, USA


    "The old metaphors for cities have run dry. Cities as machines or technologies or mechanisms aren’t getting us anywhere. They aren't computers…they aren’t smart. But they are systems that are built and managed by communities of humans and their non-human allies. As such, the values that we bear in mind as we do the work of city-ing matters. The work that we do together matters. It should be seen as sacred. Even the act of figuring out what this means is something that we should do together, and as such is a sacred process. This book ties many of the relevant threads together into the pattern we need for doing the work of cities in the 21st century. It liberates us from the mechanistic models of the past. It liberates us to figure out what's next for cities. Those of us who work to build just cities and communities need this book."

    Nigel Jacob, Co-Chair / Co-Founder, Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics, USA


    "Nature and the sacred have long been banished from the city. Yet can cities become the site of wisdom, wholeness, and healing? This is the urgent question this unique and wonderfully creative volume tackles by weaving together indigenous ontologies, the relational turn in urban studies, and decoloniality to persuasively develop the principles of "sacred civics" and "seven-generation cities" as the foundation for a substantial rethinking of city building and the democratization of city futures. Chung-Tiam-Fook, Agyeman, and Engle have assembled a truly outstanding and diverse group of indigenous and nonindigenous writers and artists, including some of today’s leading scholars in urban studies, to offer us a cogent framework of urban design as a praxis for the just co-existence of all within a living cosmos. Their call for a relational accountability for the urban worlds we design, grounded on a renewed Earth spirituality and a paradigm of interdependence and care, couldn’t be timelier. Along the way, readers are invited to inspiring and rigorous analyses on the implications of such rethinking for commons, property, governance, nature, and the economy. The book will be of great value to urban planners and designers as well as to scholars and students in indigenous and decolonial studies and those concerned with urban natures, transitions, pluriversality, and the sacred."

    Arturo Escobar, Arturo Escobar, Professor of Anthropology Emeritus, University of North Carolina, USA


    "Cities need big ideas to fill small spaces. This book reveals how life's details might better correspond with life's broader sources to create healthier urban futures. I am impressed with the rich and varied angles of vision found in Sacred Civics. The book is practical and poetic. It cultivates hope even as it recognizes the significant challenges we face."

    John Borrows, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law, University of Victoria, Canada