Welcome to the Beloved Community Project
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“But the end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the beloved community. It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opposers into friends. It is this type of understanding goodwill that will transform the deep gloom of the old age into the exuberant gladness of the new age. It is this love which will bring about miracles in the hearts of men.”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, “Facing the Challenge of a New Age,” 1956
What is the Beloved Community?
Originally coined by 19th century philosopher Josiah Royce, the term Beloved Community refers to a way of life that is based on pure, unconditional love for humankind. Beloved community is not merely about the community itself— it’s about the individuals within a community. It is the notion that a true community may not exist without the inclusion of the singular parts that make up the beloved whole. This concept made its way into the hands of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., serving as a guiding vision during the fight for civil rights in the mid-20th century.
The neighborhood in which we are raised has a tremendous role in determining our sense of self, which in turn plays a role in cultivating a shared sense of identity with the world around us. With this in mind, it is essential that the basic elements of our communities– politics, culture, economy, and design– reflect a central focus on equity. Equity in communities consists of the smallest of gestures and opportunities for genuine interaction and have a powerful ripple effect on the overall well-being of a neighborhood. Creating an organic community is intuitive only if it is not attempted to be artificially “designed”. Communities are not defined by their physical attributes or aesthetics, but rather by the people within them. It is the love that people put into action that creates the physical community. It’s what defines the difference between existing in a community and belonging to a community. In a world where cities are expected to produce a consistent output of capital, resources, and opportunities amongst ever-growing – and therefore ever diversifying – populations, it is crucial to consider how equity of access to resources in the urban setting may continue in a sustainable fashion into the future.
Pulling from interviews conducted with decade long colleagues of the late Martin Luther King, including Dr. Virgil Wood and Harvey Cox of Harvard Divinity School (author of bestsellers “Market as God” and “Secular City”), as well as academic articles surrounding equity in architecture and Louis Kelso’s Binary Economic Theory, a plethora of resources have been compiled to fulfill King’s vision from the fields of architecture, planning, economic theory, and environmental psychology. Through sharing these findings and resources with fellow designers, policy makers, and stakeholders, I believe a powerful potential for inter-sectional collaboration may be developed through creating a shared foundation of beloved values.