Archives For Development

 

Walking With the Poor - Bryant MyersEvangelical Development?

A Review of

Walking with the Poor:

Principles and Practices of
Transformational Development
,
Revised and Expanded Edition
Bryant L. Myers
Paperback: Orbis, 2011.
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Josh Wallace

Bryan Myers’ Walking with the Poor finds a fault in me and, perhaps, in broader Evangelical Christianity. It is the fault where love for God and love for neighbor ought to connect but seem to miss one another ever so slightly. Walking with the Poor constructs its framework for global transformational development over this fault, laying its foundation deeply on both sides of love. The question remains, however, whether Walking with the Poor succeeds in building a stable and sustainable framework for development over this fault.

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“Liberating Parks…
And Bringing them Back to the People”

A review of
Public Parks: The Key to Livable Communities.

By Alexander Garvin.

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

Public Parks: The Key to Livable Communities.
By Alexander Garvin.

Hardback: Norton, 2010.

Buy now: [ Amazon ]

PUBLIC PARKS - Alexander GarvinAs one who has been experimenting for several years now with urban naturalism, I have a deep appreciation for greenspaces in which the abundant life of creation is not quite as enslaved to the best laid plans of humanity.  Thus, I was excited to hear about the release of Alexander Garvin’s book Public Parks: The Key To Livable Communities.  Starting with the definition of a park as “public open spaces that are available to all citizens free of charge,” Garvin proceeds to narrate the relatively brief history of parks (according to this definition), and to lay out a basic philosophy of parks that takes into consideration such factors as site selection, stewardship and finance.

Garvin’s account of parks is centered around the lives and work of two key figures: Fredrick Law Olmsted and Robert Moses.  Olmsted, not only was the co-designer of New York’s Central Park, but the firm he founded would eventually design and create roughly six thousand of the earliest North American parks, an undertaking that spanned the continent from coast to coast.  Although Robert Moses is most recognized as an urban planner who fought to modernize New York City and who inaugurated several key expressways across that city, he perhaps is equally significant for his quarter-century of work as New York City Parks Commissioner (1934-1960).  Olmsted and Moses were undoubtedly chosen not only for their noble stature in the history of North American parks development, but also because they both approached the task of park development as part of a larger strategy of urban planning, an approach to which Garvin is apparently sympathetic and also one that was perhaps the greatest detriment to his account of parks (as we will explore later in this review).  Before I dive too deeply into a critique of this work, allow me to emphasize that Public Parks is an elegant book, well-designed with many large, color photographs that breathe life into Garvin’s streamlined narration of the history, meaning and operation of parks.  Additionally, the book serves as a good introduction to the history of parks and to the basic ideas related to the development and maintenance of parks. Continue Reading…

 

“Reimagining
Poverty and Development”

A review of
Relationality

By Claudio Oliver.

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

Relationality
Claudio Oliver.
Pamphlet: Relational Tithe, 2010.

Buy now: [ Relational Tithe ]

Claudio Oliver- RELATIONALITYClaudio Oliver, a pastor and community developer from Curitiba, Brazil stands in a rich tradition of recent Christian social critics that includes Ivan Illich, John McKnight and Jacques Ellul.  Indeed, my very first exposure to Claudio’s work was stumbling upon an online video of him defending his graduate thesis on Ivan Illich, Leo Tolstoy and Paulo Freire (HERE, but be forewarned, it’s in Portuguese).  Oliver’s first English publication, a pamphlet entitled Relationality, has recently been published by Relational Tithe.  This little gem of a pamphlet follows Ivan Illich’s and John McKnight’s critiques of poverty and development (especially Illich’s Toward a History of Needs; read an essay that basically summarizes the book here), but does so in a clear and narrative style that is simple to read and thoroughly engaging.  One of Oliver’s main points here is that “[Poverty] is not fundamentally not the lack of things or of stuff, but rather the lack of friends.  To be poor is to have no friends” (14).

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