Architectural analysis

Approaching the study of religion and cities through the built environment

Authored by: Elise M. Edwards

The Routledge Handbook of Religion and Cities

Print publication date:  December  2020
Online publication date:  December  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367367121
eBook ISBN: 9780429351181
Adobe ISBN:


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The study of religion and cities often utilizes methods that examine buildings, constructed landscapes, and urban infrastructure that are part of the “built environment.” Researchers, policy makers, and religious practitioners who pursue applied and theoretical research questions about religion and cities often turn to the study of architecture and built spaces for a deeper understanding of religious presence and spatial patterns, religious identity, and community life. Although the study of spaces and places adopted by religion scholars and practitioners may differ from the modes of analysis that typically govern architectural criticism and historic preservation, their architectural analysis can provide valuable insights about religious identity and presence, material culture, belief and practice, and community life in cities. This chapter describes three methodologies of architectural analysis commonly used to study religion in urban settings, identifies the types of research questions these methods are employed to answer, and discusses representative works in this volume and other publications that have adopted these approaches to architectural analysis.

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