Lecturer Juan José Guardia explores the challenges faced by countries as they introduce the concept of religious freedom into urban planning regulations

The lecturer in administrative law at UIC Barcelona has participated in the 1st National Government and Religious Sector Summit organised by Colombia’s Ministry of Home Affairs.

The lecturer from the Faculty of Law at UIC Barcelona Juan José Guardía spoke at the forum titled ‘Religious Freedom in Urban Planning’ as part of the 1st National Government and Religious Sector Summit organised by the Ministry of Home Affairs of Colombia.

Guardía discussed the challenges faced by nations as they begin to introduce collective and institutional aspects of religious freedom into urban planning regulations, basing his contribution on his research into urban facilities for religious use in Spain. He also coined the phenomenon NIMBY (‘not in my back yard’), which refers to the neighbourhood resistance tothe opening of certain facilities, infrastructures or services perceived by the local community as unwelcome, unpleasant or dangerous, and their role in opening new places of worship.

The Summit sought to contextualise the phenomenon of religious freedom, often violated by decisions made by local governments regarding urban planning regulations. Besides Guardía, the main speakers included the prestigious consultant and researcher on religious freedom, Dennis P. Petri and the director of the Department of Religious Affairs in the Government of Colombia, John Osorio Cardona. The Summit laid the foundations for instigating future actions, protocols and administrative measures to promote the protection and full guarantee of religious freedom.