What We Believe
1. God calls us to love our neighbors.
2. We are physical beings living in real physical space and time.
3. All of creation reflects the truth of God, including our built environment.
4. Not all places are designed equally.
5. Our built environment can work towards or detract from human flourishing.
6. There are tangible ways we can serve and love our neighbor(hood)s through the built environment.
Proximity Project is founded on the biblical calling to love our neighbors as ourselves found in Mark 12:31 and the command to seek the welfare of the city found in Jeremiah 29:7.
Because God created us as physical beings, the quality of our built environment has a direct impact on our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Therefore, the call to love our neighbors necessarily includes a consideration of our physical landscape and the creation of livable and healthy places for people to flourish both in their personal lives and in relationship to one another. It is a gift from God to be co-creators in the setting of our stories!
The church, as an institution and as individual members, has a unique and important role to play in exemplifying the truth, beauty, and goodness of Christ incarnate to the world around us. Engaging the built environment for redemption is a profound opportunity to invite others to encounter God in a tangible way as we seek to build places and spaces that resonate with the way we were created — to live in community and to witness and proclaim the creativity and goodness of God. Thus, we believe that churches can be a light for advancing the common good in our cities by advocating for developments that value human dignity through good urban design, development, and placemaking.
Think about it this way: If you built a house for someone you love, you would design it with close attention to all the details for making it a comfortable and livable place for them. You would likely provide space for gathering with friends, for cooking delicious meals, for enjoying a nice view of the oak tree out front, for energy efficiency, etc. You would recognize that, ultimately, the design of the space would determine how much it is used and valued by your loved one and beneficial to their quality of life. Truly, as places are used and valued they begin to foster personal connection, community, and vitality.
Should we not consider the design of our neighborhoods and cities through this same lens?