Market-driven urbanism: The TGC Reboot

It’s time to begin again.

Thanks to friends saying this blog must be revived, The Good City is now back in business.

We’re retooling the focus of the blog to concentrate on market-driven urbanism versus the more common centrally planned urbanism.

But what’s market-driven urbanism? Here’s a definition from the Market Urbanism blog:

Market Urbanism examines how market forces and property rights enable complex, yet vibrant and economically robust communities and regions to emerge through the “spontaneous order” of the land use and transportation marketplace. When left to market forces, as opposed to intervention, land use patterns and transportation systems reflect a society that is economically and environmentally more efficient and just than when imposed in a top-down fashion by government.

Simply put, market-driven urbanism is the best philosophy to revive our downtown and other urban areas in a conservative city like Fort Wayne which is naturally suspicious of governmental intrusion. Besides that, it honors property rights and eclecticism that makes cities vibrant.

Stay tuned for more posts and commentary!

Welcome visitors

Nancy didn’t know how to label us. We don’t really know, either.

We’re not just evangelicals, although we believe the Bible wholeheartedly. We’re not just conservatives, because we’re not sold-out Republicans at all. We’re both confessional, we both love cities and we both long for authentic community.

Maybe we’re just Kuyper Christians.

It was the Dutch politician and theologian Abraham Kuyper who said:

“Oh, no single piece of our mental world is to be hermetically sealed off from the rest, and there is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!'”

Yeah, that sounds about right.

“Sidewalks in the Kingdom” podcast

Over on our Resources page, I’ve linked to a great podcast by “Sidewalks in the Kingdom” author Eric Jacobsen.

If you don’t know, “Sidewalks” is a highly recommended book on urbanism and the church. If you want an idea of what we’re hoping to accomplish with The Good City, “Sidewalks” would be a great place to start.

The book isn’t at the Allen County Public Library, and it’s likely not on a shelf in any bookstore locally. So you’d have to order it sight unseen.

But to get a big introduction to what Jacobsen’s book is advocating, download the MP3, recorded by the Work Research Foundation in Canada. It’s 54 minutes long and about 22MB.

Called to work — and live — in the city

The folks of Comment magazine have some advice

for 28-year-olds who believe that they are called to live in the city — and who are doing so, but who are discouraged and confused by the challenges they and their cohort are experiencing — in corporate life, city administration or politics, education, film and other media, the arts, or whatever their areas of work.

Read the advice a consortium of leaders give to young Christians trying to do good work. Here are some highlights:

  • You need a good community of close friends with you to help you make the climb.
  • There is inherent value in all good work.
  • Consider yourself to be in a time of training and preparation.
  • Change the world right where you are — in your homes, your neighbourhoods, your churches.

Being neighborly, even online

Adirondack chairs A visitor by the name of Rachel asks:

I’m very interested in seeing that the two of you have teamed up for what looks to be a very interesting blog on the crossroads of urban planning and religion. I know that both of you have deep Christian convictions, so I am wondering how you anticipate treating those who post comments and view your blog who may come from another religious perspective?

So here was my response (and Rachel gave permission to post her question here):

Hi and thanks for writing. That’s a really good question, and you’ve inspired me to find a metaphor that describes how we do things around here.

I’m treating this blog like my front porch. It’s similar to setting up a table and a few Adirondack chairs and inviting neighbors and passers-by for coffee and conversation.

In this situation, no way can I expect everyone to agree with me. Some may be Christians who disagree with my conclusions. Some may be non-Christians who agree with my conclusion but don’t like my reasons. But I am confident enough in my God to know that I can listen to my neighbors and love them and not beat them over the head with my 20-pound study Bible. At least not on the first visit.

And those who drive by and throw eggs will not be treated gently.

And like I told her in a follow-up email, if I can’t be neighborly on this web site, I have no business writing about neighborhoods!