Tuesday, April 12, 2011

sprout 12: cities

Introducing a short article about Remembering Nature and the City that's no longer on The Nature Conservancy's conservation gateway dot org, the authors remind their readers:
"Today, great conservation success has often been associated with saving large tracts of rural land and wilderness devoid of human development—places with uninterrupted natural vistas and thriving wildlife. Yet in the United States there is a hidden history of conservation rooted in cities and towns, a history that has driven significant change over the past century for what "conservation" means in this country as a set of ideas and practices. As we contemplate the challenges of an increasingly urbanized world, understanding and shaping the city's changing role in conservation will be crucial if we are to create and manage habitats that can sustain our growing population without destroying our planet's biodiversity."
tri city sliceI'm staying with the suggested April blogging topic sprout, and I love cities (in fact, I minored/concentrated in Urban Studies at UMass Boston and would have made cities my major if it had been an option), so what have cities sprouted?

Cities are home to an economically and culturally stratified society, that includes a so-called middle class. Commerce in the city typically happens with brokers, or "middlemen" rather than barter and exchange, implying higher-ups and lower-downs on the economic ladder. Very significantly, cities are a crossroads of commerce, culture, language, transportation and ideas. Historically, most cities have been situated alongside a river, providing a waterway and a gateway of commerce, immigration and importation. Most of the world's great universities originated in cities. Urban religion? Famous churches (St Patrick's – New York City, St Basil – Moscow, Riverside – NYC, Westminster Abbey – London for a scant handful) have been beacons of light as well as havens of refuge and safety; in seminaries, conversations with a plethora of diverse populations and with other faith traditions help contextualize the gospel into life-affirming and justice-making interactions and outcomes for all creation.

A well-tended garden grows into a city! The biblical witness begins with the story of the first creation and a garden in a place called Eden – עֵדֶן – with the possible meaning delight by the conjunction of Four Rivers; the biblical canon concludes with the city of the new creation, the city called the New Jerusalem – ירושלם – a legacy or birthright of peace, or more fully, of shalom. A garden well-stewarded naturally grows into a city, and that city sprouts and generates countless worlds...

As the article tells us, "Cities are the biggest environmental challenge of this century, and we think it is helpful to pause a moment and remember that environmental policy and urban policy are not only one in the same, but they have been one and the same for quite some time."

april blogging sprout

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