The Endowment of “The Good” contains realms of activities that are expressed through philanthropy, religion, and non-profits. These realms generate the value of ethical and civic virtue as cities need strong social bonds and commitments capable of bridging ideological, cultural, and ethnic differences. The endowment of the Good captures the vitality of a city by assessing levels social trust, empathy, and solidarity.
This endowment constitutes the number of civic-minded organizations (churches and soup kitchens), volunteer hours, levels of social trust, and geographical proximity and overlap of different populations. Equally important for this endowment is a certain type of space(s) in a city that allows for the creation of different relationships, such as city sports leagues and public spaces. The contextual realities that constrain and enable this endowment within a city can include demographic trends, decline of traditional institutions, forms of individualism, legacies of racial distrust, and increasing diversity.
A more clever use of technology in cities would bring retired people together, for example, or allow municipalities to know exactly where their aging solo residents live, so that if there’s an environmental disaster such as a heat wave or a flood, teams can reach out to the isolated. The data-crunching can be done digitally, while the reaching-out can be done in person.
With 80 million—the largest generation ever—leaving home and descending into society, scholars, think tanks, and especially corporations are intent on understanding the inner life of a twenty something. Despite the attention that millennials are garnering, important questions surrounding community engagement are being let out.
In part 3 of this series, Andrew Lynn addresses “skyboxification” as a barrier to flourishing cities.
In Peter Levine”s new book, he offers guidance and insights for renewing the civic landscape around citizen deliberation and participation.
In part 2 of this series, Andrew Lynn investigates two dominant trends of urban life that will have tremendous consequences for the future of cities.
For a long time, urban sociologists saw cities as culprits of social isolation and fragmentation. Although this view had certain justifications, its shortsightedness of urban life has opened up opportunities for new methods for urban thinking.
Religious institutions in their varied forms are to the social fabric of cities what swamps and bogs are to the ecological landscape. Cities that are serious about attending to the various social challenges in their communities cannot afford to be snobbish about a scarce resource.
Will the new urban evangelical movement make a lasting impact on cities? The real test will be in whether evangelicals consistently partner with Christians across the traditions who, unlike many evangelicals, stayed in the inner city and consistently maintained ministries to the urban poor.
There is a movement afoot among evangelical Christians that may not only surprise you but might also signal one of the biggest shifts in their orientation for at least a generation. Evangelicals are coming back to the city.