Religion, neoliberalism, planning: an analysis of Northern Ireland’s ‘superchurch’

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This article adds to and develops extant work on the comparatively under-explored but important link between religion, neoliberalism and planning. It is noticeable that mega/giga-churches are recalibrating the religious and physical landscapes of cities around the world, in so doing they raise important implications for professional planners. We focus on Green Pastures Church in Northern Ireland. The church has initiated a significant urban development project that represents something much more than just another new church; indeed, it has been described as a ‘superchurch’. The main body of this article focuses on the three separate plans submitted to the local authority, and the attendant contentious local planning issues. Existing research exposes the problematic impact of planning decisions on religious sites for certain religious communities. Our contribution to knowledge reveals new insights concerning the more positive and supportive relationship between planning and religion. We end this article by offering insights into broader debates on the public presence of religion and how it is regulated in the contemporary city.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 61-79
Number of pages18
JournalReligion, State and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2021


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