Wednesday, August 29

Introduction

I've created this blog to catalog my personal exploration into urban planning and community. Any advice, criticism, or comment is encouraged. All thoughts are in process.

For the last few years I have grown to appreciate the power of the built environment. Those streets and buildings, parks and coffee shops that I had walked in and out of all my life have been gradually transformed from neutral background noise into thickly moral elements. The way what we believe is mapped out onto the places we live has fascinated me. I have degrees in philosophy and theology, but I have been eager to find something a little less ethereal and a little more practicable. Maybe this is it.

A good city means an environmentally sustainable, socially rich, economically diverse, and fundamentally humane city. I want to imagine how a city could be organized in such away without drifting off into an untenable utopian fantasy.

Missoula will figure heavily throughout, not only because it happens to be where I live but also because living here has been a major catalyst for my interest in urban design. I also have a particular interest in examining what role urban churches have in forming good cities. What are some practical ways that churches can seek the welfare of the city?

The wonderful book Sidewalks in the Kingdom by Eric Jacobsen is somewhat of a departure point for this exploration. The ghost of this book will be wandering around each of the posts, poking it's head into whatever topic is at hand.

6 comments:

Angelina said...

Hi Daniel,

Thank you very much for this blog--I am looking forward to reading and perhaps contributing. I myself am investigating the many diverse implications of cities.

Angelina

Ryan said...

Thank you for your thoughtful comments about tithing on my blog. In return, I'd like to share an article I read several years ago in Time Magazine about obesity and urban planning: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,994393,00.html

The main gist is that that urban design has had a significant impact on the health of residents. The philosophy of separating residential areas from shopping areas and work (as often seen in suburban layouts) has... well... made Americans fat.

Ryan said...

It looks like blogger has cut off my URL. You can find it on Time's website. It's called "The Walking Cure", published July 7, 2004.

Daniel Nairn said...

Thanks Ryan. I did manage to find the article.

From the article:

""Everyone is created to walk," says Mayor Hindman. "But we have designed our streets to create barriers to an obvious, efficient activity." Columbia is not alone. Throughout most of the U.S., suburban sprawl has created a nation that has been supersized beyond walking distance. Homes tend to be far removed from shopping; compact, walkable downtowns are rare; traffic is fast and dangerous to pedestrians; and even sidewalks aren't to be taken for granted."

aph said...

Nice blog! I will definitely be keeping up with it. I just started a blog on similar topics: http://marketurbanism.com . Check it out, there should be opportunities to link to each other on many subjects.

Fanis said...

Hi Daniel,

Look up Fused Grid on Google and you will find the original and more. I found you that way because you used the term. Your sketch captures the idea of Filtered permeability well.
I have lots of research to share that supports your idea.
Fanis