One of this week’s best new book releases is:
A Review of
Reviewed by Thomas V. Bona
When I last visited my native New York City in 2013, I made sure to walk on the High Line. I was stunned at how well the vaunted 1.45-mile greenway on an abandoned rail line on the west side of Manhattan lived up to the hype. Lush vegetation – and did I hear birdsong? – stood out over oceans of urban pavement. A literal park in the sky, it had food, drinks, art installations, and excellent people watching. I never would have explored this part of the city when I was growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, when it was mostly aging industrial buildings, garages, and night clubs. Now it was teeming with life, as were a lot of other neighborhoods. With the “back to the city” trend and the strength of New York’s economy, decades of urban decay and disinvestment were beaten back. There were record numbers of residents, jobs, and tourists. What’s not to like?
A Review of
Paperback: Calvin College Press, 2017
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]
Review by Erin F. Wasinger
When I moved a few years ago, I joked that I only knew my way around the city if all routes started at my front door. I saw my home on the map as if it were the center of a bicycle wheel, each spoke pointing to a different destination: store, church, schools, library. Until I internalized the city’s layout, each trip functioned as if the world revolved around my garage.
Many of us view our environments that way, much to the detriment of communities, Lee Hardy argues in The Embrace of Buildings: A Second Look at Walkable City Neighborhoods. A certain flavor of the American dream envisions a well-manicured lawn in suburbia, a fence separating the yard from the neighbors’. Hardy is as Copernicus, reminding readers that our enclaves aren’t the centers in our individual universes. Instead, he invites us to imagine ourselves orbiting a shared space: our cities.
Paperback: Eerdmans, 2017
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]
Reviewed by Kevin Book-Satterlee
Stay in the City is one of the most fun, quick, and inspiring little texts on urban mission. Gornik and Wong bring forth small anecdotes to narrate a grand emerging adventure. We often think of adventure as journeying out, into the unknown, but in the city, with all its change, the familiar becomes unkown and recycles back to familiarity once again. This is the adventure of urban mission, the complex intertwining, changing dance with rehearsed steps to developing beats. Staying in the City inspires dance-lessons and improvisation to tell the journey of what God is doing in our cities across the globe.
(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)
James Bryan Smith
I recently finished reading Richard Florida’s important book THE NEW URBAN CRISIS. While I didn’t have a chance to write my review this week (watch for it on our website in the next couple of weeks), I thought that this would be a good time to recommend books in a similar vein that should be essential reading for Christians trying to understand the urban places in which they live and/or worship.
This is not an exhaustive list, but it will set readers on an excellent trajectory for understanding urban places.
The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class—and What We Can Do About It
I just found this PBS video of him reading one of the poems from his latest collection:
Paperback: Four Way, 2015
Buy now: [ Amazon ]
Here is a great TED talk video that Benjamin Barber gave on the book: