Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New Urbanism

My friend Christopher King is an architect, and I just saw a link he posted and thought I'd share it with you. The video is about a trend in architecture called "New Urbanism" and it is part of a move toward working against the 'sprawl' that makes up more and more of our suburban landscapes.

The main concept is that things should be within walking distance of our homes. Many people in urban areas drive 20 minutes or more to get to their place of work, school, church, etc. Imagine the better quality of life that might come from walking instead of driving. Imagine what life might be like if we were engaging with our neighbors and not meeting people by going far from our homes.

As I think about the idea of engaging with neighbors, I realize that since I left for college, I haven't been all that well connected with my neighbors. I'm wondering if this is a typical experience for college students, or even for people post college in their respective neighborhoods. I can remember being really connected with my neighbors as a kid, but it doesn't seem that way anymore. Both of my parents worked just a few blocks from where we lived growing up too.

I started reading a book a few years back called "Sidewalks In the Kingdom," and it pointed out an irony that takes place in our pursuit of spirituality. The Bible ends with a vision of a heavenly city. When we think about our own spirituality, we don't necessarily think about cities as all that spiritual. In fact, we tend to go away from the city to connect with God. Maybe the problem isn't cities. Maybe the problem is how we have conceived and developed our urban and suburban areas and lives.

Regardless, I hope you enjoy the video and it allows you to think about the space in which you live. What would have to change in your life and community to allow you to live, work, etc. close to home. How well do you know your neighbors? Where do you go to connect with God?


Bryan said...

Sidewalks in the Kingdom is an excellent book. I highly recommend it. Thanks for the post +video!

Anonymous said...

Who wrote Sidewalks in the Kingdom?