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Faith for Cities

Harnessing multi-faith insights and actions in the face of an unparalleled era of urbanization.

Our Focus
Deliverables & Process
Participant qualificato
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Around 2012, a significant shift occurred: humans became predominantly urban. With urban dwellers projected to represent 68% of the global population by 2050, we are in the midst of an unparalleled era of rapid global urbanization. This mega-trend has profound implications, influencing global challenges and dictating that “our struggle for global sustainability will be won or lost in cities” (UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, 2012).

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Through vast networks and grassroots presence, diverse faith communities possess not only unique insights into urban challenges but untapped capacities and resources to tackle those challenges. For this reason, UN-Habitat is willing and able to collaborate with faith-based organizations and actors with urban expertise and common alignment.

These uniquely intertwined factors present an unprecedented opportunity for religious organizations and leaders to help shape urban development. In response, the Templeton Religion Trust (TRT) has provided a grant to fund a nine-month stakeholder engagement process, considering pathways whereby the global multi-faith community can contribute to the development of thriving cities for all; that is cities, towns, and villages that are just, productive, equitable, inclusive, ecologically sustainable, and beautiful for all. Aligned with TRT’s overarching aim to “improve the well-being of individuals and societies through spiritual growth and an ever-improving understanding of spiritual realities,” this project will mobilize diverse faith communities to contribute more effectively to the economic, environmental, and social returns supporting human development in the communities to which they belong, love, and serve.  


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Our Focus: Addressing Urban Challenges With a Lens of Faith and Spirit of Collaboration

While the rapid global urbanization presents unprecedented challenges, it also opens doors for faith communities to play a pivotal role. Cities grapple with housing shortages, the need for basic services like water, sanitation, mobility, and green spaces, and civic issues such as economic inclusion, safety, and diversity. Faith communities, with their extensive networks and ethical, social, economic, cultural, and spiritual influence, are poised to contribute innovative solutions.

This project is not just about recognizing the challenges but actively engaging in solution-oriented dialogues and actions. Through the planning grant process, we aim to harness the potentials of faith communities, turning religious experiences and capacities towards actionable, impactful urban development initiatives. The focus is on not just discerning the needs but delivering solutions, turning the intellectual and research gaze of religious academic institutions towards cities, and fostering a multi-faith ecosystem that is equipped and committed to building thriving cities for all.


Through a stakeholder engagement process designed around three collaborative convenings, this project seeks to develop a comprehensive grant proposal for submission to TRT specifying in detail the agreed upon design for a multi-faith ecosystem “that understands, identifies, innovates, develops, funds, evaluates, and refines faith consistent urban development projects at all scales and sectors that are SDG certifiable and contribute to human thriving for all.”

Objective 1

Align religious organizations, leaders, and non-religious allies around a common cause of advancing human wellbeing and thriving through urban development. 

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Objective 2

Support and develop the capacity of all religions to more effectively contribute to city building commensurate with human thriving within their own religious theological perspectives and traditions, and through their own religious communities and resources.  

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Objective 3

Support and develop ways, means, and networks for all religions, to engage and collaborate with global bodies, national governments, sub-nationals, civil society, and the private sector for the purpose of advancing localized wellbeing and thriving in cities, towns, villages, and neighborhoods.

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Deliverables & Process

Collaborative Convenings

Grant Proposal

Multi-faith Urban Development Network

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Participating faith based leaders, urban development experts, and non-religious private and public sector allies will attend three convenings designed to facilitate collaborative knowledge sharing, ideation, and decision making to inform the resulting grant proposal.

The key deliverable of this process is a comprehensive grant proposal aiming to establish a multi-faith ecosystem “that understands, identifies, innovates, develops, funds, evaluates, and refines faith consistent urban development projects at all scales and sectors that are SDG certifiable and contribute to human thriving for all.”

Stakeholders working in this project will organically form a self-identifying multi-faith urban development network that is willing and able to work together to implement the multi-faith urban development agenda they co-developed through the grant writing process.





The Purpose of the Data Convening

March 5th, 2024

We are inviting leaders and organizations working in the overlapping areas of data, cities, and religion to a new initiative promoting intentional collaboration. 

Urban Design Convening

March 26th, 2024

We are inviting leaders and organizations working in the overlapping areas of religion and urban design, planning, architecture, landscape architecture, placemaking, public engagement, etc. 

Finance / Project Developers Convening

April 9th, 2024

With practitioners who are willing, we are building a collaborative community that supports a global commons at the intersection of faith and finance/project developers that will benefit all the stakeholders working in this space.

Submission of Grant Proposal to TRT: May, 2024 

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Participant Qualifications & Expectations

We have invited religious organizational decision-makers and C-Suite leaders from intergovernmental bodies and the private sector to participate in this planning grant process. Participants are experts in urban issues and/or have a proven track record in urban development from a religious perspective, are legitimate representatives of their religious tradition, demonstrate a collaborative spirit, and are committed to the project's success. 

Stakeholder Map & Inter-relational Engagements

Stakeholder Map & Inter-relational Engagements


In summary, this is a multi-faith project that is developing a space, platform, and tools for all religions to:

  • Increase their own religion’s institutional capacity to build better cities, towns, villages and neighborhoods for all;

  • Align and collaborate with global, regional, and national actors co-committed to building thriving cities for all;

  • Collaborate with other religious organizations at the local project level because they recognize they have a common cause, often within the same city, town, village, or neighborhood, to advance human wellbeing and thriving.


The Faith for Cities Delivery Team

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