Fresh Tracks

20 May

The Good City: Community and Urban Order

Category: Fresh Tracks
By: Ken Myers
Published: 05/20/13

MARS HILL AUDIO Anthology 10

The phrase "human flourishing" has become quite common in conversations among Christians about the goals of cultural involvement. Sometimes the shape of flourishing remains vague, sometimes it is identified with very specific social or political issues.

All too rarely is human flourishing discussed in terms as mundane as the presence of sidewalks, the width of residential streets, or zoning regulations that encourage walking rather than driving. But for a number of contemporary thinkers, human flourishing is necessarily tied to the way we plan and cultivate our built environment.

In Anthology 10: "The Good City: Community and Urban Order," MARS HILL AUDIO host Ken Myers talks with architects, historians, activists, and clergy about how loving our neighbors can and must take shape in how we order the material aspects of shared life. The conversations on this Anthology give particular attention to how the New Urbanist movement has challenged the dehumanizing effects of modernism in urban design.

Myers notes in his script that, "As the God-ordained stewards of the earth, we must be attentive to the condition of our homes, towns, cities and countryside; the love of our neighbors demands it. A rich theology of human flourishing must include the recognition that communities are sustained by memory of their history and by specific patterns of attentiveness to Creation. An architectural agenda that allows the needs of mobility to dictate the texture of lived life in cities—a civic vision that champions efficiency with no concern to the beauty of life in a place—violates the well-being of real communities and the real people within them."

Guests featured on this Anthology all previously appeared on back issues of the MARS HILL AUDIO Journal, and include: James Howard Kunstler (The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition); Jeff Speck (Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream); Vincent Scully (American Architecture and Urbanism); Richard Moe (Changing Places: Rebuilding Community in the Age of Sprawl); Philip Bess (Till We Have Built Jerusalem: Architecture, Urbanism, and the Sacred); and Eric Jacobsen (Sidewalks in the Kingdom: New Urbanism and the Christian Faith).