This issue also invites you to consider the unseen side of the city, the social infrastructure that undergirds it—the web of institutions and systems that make it possible, like the hidden girders and encased skeletons that hold up our skyscrapers. The city isn’t just a mission field, a dense audience for Gospel proclamation; it is also a human cultural creation, born of necessity and desire, a way that humans seek to live together. But such a reality is not magic, nor is it merely “natural;” it is an astounding cultural feat that requires constant maintenance, renewal, and reform, especially in a fallen world. Infrastructure isn’t sexy and doesn’t get much press. Nobody moves to the city for the sewers, sanitation, or the municipal master plan. And yet these invisible skeletons of the city are what sustain its life.
… It’s fine to ask, “How can I build community in my neighbourhood through urban gardens?” It’s more difficult to answer the question, “Should Detroit have an emergency city manager? And what should he do? Should he honour pensions or protect the museum’s art collection? Should he open the pools or turn on street lights?” Would you want to make those decisions? If you inhabit a city, somebody is making them for you.
The Other Side of the City | Comment Magazine | Cardus. Jamie Smith and the other folks at Comment are asking good questions and thinking good thoughts.