My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: "O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!"

19 October 2005

new urbanism

My wife and I have similar desires, I think, for a living environment. Problem is, some of our dreams are directly opposed to each other. Often we think how great it would be to live in the country, to raise our family on a few acres of land and have space to stretch and play. Other times, we think how great it would be to live nearby everything we need, to be within walking distance to most stores, most neighbors, and the church.

Unbeknownst to me, this second desire has a name: the new urbanism. Rather than blabber, here's a great article I found about it (from Of Kirk and Ale), with comments about why Christians should support this new thinking and some links to other interesting sites.


Rachel said...

My family and I visited Boston this summer and didn't rent a car. I was amazed at how well we were able to do walking everwhere or taking the subway. We thought of how wonderful it would be for physical fitness to live in a place where you can walk to everthing or take public transit. Being from Detroit, I'd like to have a car, but not have to use it to get everywhere. It would also be nice to get by with only one car. :)

Sir Ryan said...

Yeah, Laura and I have talked about New Urbanism before. After hanging around in Scotland and being able to walk to any store that I needed to, having to burn fuel and money for a trip to the store to pick up some butter and eggs (I forgot them, okay?) is rather maddening.

People look at you like you're crazy if you try to walk places now. You're assumed to be too poor to have a car if you're walking along the side of the road.

Sam DeSocio said...

Cool article, I really like how the author was trying to figure out how we should put our faith into practice in the urban environment of the 21st century.

Anonymous said...

I think perhaps people need to read more from RC Jr. It should be obvious that living in the country is best and perhaps even Biblical.

Seriously, I personally would hate to live in a place where I couldn't get my gun and shoot a groundhog that was trapped by my window.

Jeff K

Kurt said...

Hmmmm. Can the "New Urbanism" concept provide help in deciding where the new church plant should be?

Jared said...

Unfortunately, Kurt, I don't think "new urbanism" is anywhere close to Lafayette yet...although it would be really cool to live downtown - one could begin to approximate and structure life around the downtown area...almost.

Kurt said...

Jared, I was thinking a little more outside of the box - not in concrete effects of actually building a town, but taking the geographic principle in point number 2 near the end of the article:

"2) The gospel is not simply a set of ideas, but is something lived out. As our society becomes more and more isolationistic it will develop greater and greater resilience to the gospel. Therefore we should be advocates for a built environment which encourages neighborliness and interaction with a relatively unchanging community - not a city of strangers."

Using the geographic closeness of members (currently living in an area or would move to the area) to strengthen the collective witness of families as they are seen interacting with each other helped by their close physical proximity to each other, thus having a greater impact to those around them ALL WEEK LONG. "And if one overthrows him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly torn apart." Eccl 4:12

Jared said...

Kurt - I got you. That sounds real good. Maybe more people in the church should begin to think about the location of their families in more than just "i want to live in the country" terms. Personally, I wish more people lived closer to our church now - or that more people were making location decisions based upon the location of other families in the church.

Good thoughts!

Ellen Olivetti said...

When a core group here in Indianapolis wanted to start a church plant downtown, many members of that group actually sold their homes and moved to the area in which they wanted to start the church so that they could live and work among the people to whom they wished to minister. Now that is commitment. Sounds like this idea of new urbanism to me.

Jared said...

Mom - that's just rockin'! That's exactly what the church needs to be thinking & doing. What a great passion for Christ's kingdom!

Not to say that churches don't need to be planted in suburbia (they surely do), but it's so exciting to see the church reclaiming the city for her King.