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Sidewalks in the Kingdom: New Urbanism and the Christian Faith
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Sidewalks in the Kingdom: New Urbanism and the Christian Faith

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  148 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
Christians often talk about claiming our cities for Christ and the need to address urban concerns. But according to Eric Jacobsen, this discussion has remained far too abstract. Sidewalks in the Kingdom challenges Christians to gain an informed vision for the physical layout and structure of the city.
Jacobsen emphasizes the need to preserve the nourishing characteristics
Paperback, 190 pages
Published May 1st 2003 by Brazos Press
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(showing 1-30 of 320)
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Courtney Joshua
Jul 19, 2014 Courtney Joshua rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, culture
The author emphasizes that the physical layout of a city is in itself significant, and, if carefully planned, can tend toward the propagation of Christian values like community, relationship, care for the less fortunate, etc. He is immensely practical in his ideas, but as far as how to implement them... that's where it gets sticky. Also, while much of his critique of suburbia may be justified, he's a bit narrow in his unreserved praise of city life and seems to have no experience of other settin ...more
Tamara Hill Murphy
from Ekklesia Project's description:
"...Sidewalks in the Kingdom challenges Christians to gain a practical, informed vision for the city that includes a broad understanding of the needs and rewards of a vital urban community. Building on the principles of New Urbanism, Jacobsen emphasizes the need to preserve the nourishing characteristics of traditional city life, such as shared public spaces, mixed-use neighborhoods, a well-supported local economy, and aesthetic diversity and beauty."

During a
Oct 11, 2015 Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: planning
Interesting conversation starter about the role of Christians in building better cities.

* - Reserved for nonfiction. Worth a read if you're interested in the subject. Check out from library.

** - Good. May be inconsistent and flawed, but overall worth a read if you're in the mood for that genre. Check out from library.

*** - Very good. Recommended as a book that is either wonderfully written, informative, challenging, beautiful... but not all of the above. Check out from library or buy on Kindle.

Apr 23, 2011 Carla rated it really liked it
I loved this book because it merged two major aspects of my life: christianity and urban planning. It really makes you think about how our cities shape our lives and how our faith should influence not only how we live but where we choose to live. It can be pretty convicting at times, noting how Americans have basically created false gods out of the notions of individualism and freedom as opposed to living among one another and loving each other as Christ loved us.

A little warning, the author is
James Stewart
May 22, 2007 James Stewart rated it it was ok
The urban sprawl that blights the USian landscape has had more impact than merely the growth of ugly landscapes. It has broken apart communities, led to less healthy lifestyles, and increased ghettoization. Jacobsen's book sets out to introduce Christian groups into the new urbanist agenda, calling for walkable neighborhoods, more community-focussed building practices, and support of local business where real relationships can be borne. While this may well be a good primer, anyone who has read a ...more
Michael Taft
May 30, 2013 Michael Taft rated it it was amazing
Sidewalks in the Kingdom snuck up on me. Growing up in a fairly intentional urban church, the book has created for itself quite the loyal following among church leaders. Before diving in, I just figured it talked about how to be a Christian in the city: “How do I treat that homeless man with responsible love?” or “How do we model our churches to be inviting to the diversity of the city?” You know, the kind of topics When Helping Hurts hits on, because that’s what the city is about, isn’t it? Po ...more
Aug 11, 2011 Kyle rated it liked it
Shelves: christian-living
If you care at all about urban space please read this book.

I read this on a recommendation from a friend and I'm glad I did as it theologically articulated many views, suspicians, and beliefs I have been formulating but unable to voice. In short, Jacobson argues that God cares about cities and the ways cities have been organized don't make sense practically or theologically. Jacobson presents a compelling case for the importance of cities, public space, and mixed-use zoning.

My wife and I purpose
Apr 29, 2010 Erik rated it really liked it
A wonderful book introducing Christians to New Urbanism and explaining the need to build and encourage communities at the civic level. I especially liked sections about the importance of having to deal with strangers as individuals and as a community, and the dangers of the a la carte socializing that comes with reclusive and car-based lifestyles. The marginalization of non-driving people in car-centric areas was also striking.

It's hard for me to negatively criticize a book that I agreed with at
Aug 16, 2008 Drick rated it liked it
This book, written by a Presbyterian pastor in Missoula, MT looks at the impact of place, buildings, sidewalks and other physical dimensions of communities and their impact on relationship in a community. As a pastor then he also suggests some theological implications of structure. This book introduced me to New Urbanism, a movement within urban studies and architeccture that calls people back to more community-minded structures in cities and towns. It is a very anti-suburb, anti-car perspective ...more
Gwen Burrow
May 03, 2010 Gwen Burrow rated it it was ok
Shelves: theology
I don't agree with everything Jacobsen says, I don't like his tone or his prose, and if I have to read one more thing about perfect little Missoula, I'm going to be more than a little miffed. Plus, this book has about twice the word-count it needs; you could basically wash it hot and let it shrink. Why did this have to crown Senior Traditio? Phooey!
Aug 16, 2008 Krista rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2007
Absolutely amazing book. When I picked it up I thought there was no way he could make it work--linking Christian theology with the tenets of the New Urbanism movement re. sustainability, walkable cities, etc.--but it was quite well done. He stumbled a little at the end in his conclusions, but still quite an interesting book.
Nov 05, 2007 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Shelves: faith
Jacobsen encourages Christians to embrace the stewardship of the city as many have already embraced stewardship of other natural and intangible resources. He presents the ideas of new urbanism, civic responsibility, and third places in a Christian context - and in doing so makes faith and city life less incongruous.
Aug 13, 2007 scott rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: yes
Two of my main interests are city planning and Christianity. Jacobson demonstrates how these two issues are intimately linked. He shows how the built environment is not just made up of buildings, roads and shopping malls, but that together they can create places of community or places of isolation.
Wesley Strebeck
Dec 10, 2012 Wesley Strebeck rated it it was amazing
This book is OUTSTANDING! One of the best books I've ever read! I now look at cities and the urban built environment through a vibrant and hopeful lens, whereas I once viewed it as a vague and neutral subject. Jacobsen's theology is so far good.
Jeremy Kozdon
An examination of the interaction of faith and our built environment. Challenged a lot of notions of about what I value in where I live and what I ought to value. Certainly will (and has) effected where I do and want to live.
Mar 11, 2013 Glenn rated it really liked it
2 years after reading this book I still refer to the points it makes about how we created our environment and what we should do now as Christians. A practical well thought out book
Aug 04, 2008 Matt rated it liked it
Concerning faith and our modern cities. Relevant to my studies and deserving of Christendom's attention, but lacking authoritative depth. Secular works by many others fill in the gaps.
Sep 07, 2014 Matt rated it liked it
A bit simplistic with use of scripture, theology is not well defined, but a rare and interesting perspective of the church in the world through the lens of new urbanism.
Jason Farley
Jun 13, 2011 Jason Farley rated it really liked it
This was a really helpful book in starting tho think about city planning and living in cities from a Christan perspective.
Feb 11, 2008 Maggie rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful portrayal of what it looks like to build a city around the framework of community.
Jul 11, 2008 Patrick rated it liked it
I think I remember this book being kind of light weight. I'll probably give it another shot.
Brittany Petruzzi
Requires much picking and choosing, but the stuff worth the picking is also well worth the read.
matthew kaemingk
Apr 10, 2007 matthew kaemingk rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: new urbanism and christianity
interested in new urbanism and a christian perspective? Jacobsen is great
Steven Wedgeworth
Jun 11, 2011 Steven Wedgeworth rated it it was amazing
A great marriage of Christian piety and new urbanism.
Noai Leidenfrost
May 07, 2010 Noai Leidenfrost rated it really liked it
Shelves: senior-traditio
interesting thoughts on Christian city planning.
May 09, 2010 Lanny rated it liked it
I wanted to like it...
Aug 14, 2013 James rated it it was ok
Lauren Squires
Lauren Squires marked it as to-read
May 01, 2016
Josh Shelley
Josh Shelley rated it it was amazing
May 01, 2016
Jackson Mcneil
Jackson Mcneil marked it as to-read
Apr 26, 2016
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Eric O. Jacobsen (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Tacoma, Washington. He is the author of Sidewalks in the Kingdom: New Urbanism and the Christian Faith and numerous articles exploring connections between the Christian community, the church, and traditional neighborhoods. He is also the coeditor of Traditions in Leadership and The Three Tasks of L ...more
More about Eric O. Jacobsen...

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