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:: Wednesday, May 28, 2008 ::

Herding Cats

Atheists in the US are arguing amongst themselves about whether we/they need buildings that can fulfil the social function of a church in a community but without the religious baggage [Church of no God, via null.devivce].

It's something I've thought about before, especially as I work on a lot of developments where a church will plough money into a community centre that no-one else would be willing to stump up for. But then I think about what social functions would be performed in a building if you stripped out the religious requirements. What you a re left with is a multi-purpose social meeting space. Somewhere where people can meet to chat, probably with a small stage for performances. Something open to everyone, regardless of faith.

Then I realised we have it already, it's called a pub (although non-alcohol drinking faiths may take issue with this). It's basically something any well equipped pubic house can provide. As long as it's somewhere that provides enough in the way of variety of products, from tea, coffee and cakes during the day, to relaxed social drinking in the evening, and has a family friendly policy, I think it could cover all bases. Even a well equipped café could do the same. I suppose the key difference is that you would most likely be expected to purchase something when you were there, which churches sort of don't do. Sort of.

Update:
Thanks to abscond for the comment. You're right, a squat also fulfils all of these functions and avoids the consumerist problem. Although as a general rule they are not included in new developments. But I take your point, I can almost hear Naomi Klein screaming at my proposal to further reduce public space and replace it with a commercial alternative. So I’m changing my mind and proposing that all new residential development areas have a purpose built squat included. It is, unfortunately, a flight of fancy of the likes usually confined to bldgblog, but it’s an alternative to the Church of no God proposal.

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:: Dan 28.5.08 [Arc] [1 comments] [links to this post] ::
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Comments:
Squats? They provide spaces for all sorts of community activity, and do their best to put back into the community around them, and they don't require the purchase of anything.
 
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