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Receiving Community: The Church and the Future of the New Urbanist Movement

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Abstract

The ideas behind the New Urbanist movement represent a significant challenge to the reigning orthodoxy, which has held sway within the guild of professional developers and planners over the past fifty years. The town of Seaside, and other successful New Urbanist developments, have demonstrated that this movement represents a viable alternative to post-World War II development practices. For the first twenty years of its existence, the New Urbanist movement has been primarily a secular movement, but it must not remain exclusively so. This article, argues that if the New Urbanist movement aspires to be more than just a shortterm economic success or a market correction it is going to have to take the church more seriously as a conversation partner in its cultural project. In particular, the church can help the New Urbanist movement grapple with some of the powers and forces, which have an impact upon communities in ways that are more profound and enduring than economic factors alone. These forces involve such Christian concepts as redemption, interdependence, selfless service, and even right worship. Understanding these forces may not help New Urbanists to build community more efficiently but, rather, may teach us all how to graciously receive community as a gift.

Eric O. Jacobsen, "Receiving Community: The Church and the Future of the New Urbanist Movement," Journal of Markets & Morality 6, no. 1 (Spring 2003): 59-79


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