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Religion and the New Urbanism

In our continuing series on the intersection of land use, urban development, culture and religion, I thought I'd direct our readers to the work of Joel Kotkin. Mr. Kotkin does a lot of writing about "the good city" and has recently published an article in the Weekly Standard entitled, "Sects and the City." He argues that religion and religious culture has always been the focal point in the construction of the great cities of history. Here is a taste:

"This retreat from religion is one of the least understood and discussed aspects of the relative decline of the great cities of the West. To be sure, there are many other, more tangible causes--the rise of the Internet, the generations-long flight of the middle class to the suburbs, fear of terrorism. But the decline of religious community may reflect a deeper malaise that could weaken the very spirit of urban culture.

"Churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques provide critical ballast for cities. In an often impersonal and challenging environment they offer a place of refuge and solace, a means of gradual assimilation for the newly arrived, and, perhaps most important, an alternative setting for the inculcation of values in the new generation."

Kotkin has a new book out with the same general thesis: The City: A Global History.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 25, 2005 9:45 AM.

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