Sidewalks in the Kingdom: New Urbanism and the Christian Faith (The Christian Practice of Everyday Life)
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Sidewalks in the Kingdom: New Urbanism and the Christian Faith (The Christian Practice of Everyday Life)

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  120 ratings  ·  23 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...more
Paperback, 190 pages
Published May 1st 2003 by Brazos Press
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Courtney Joshua
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
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...more
James Stewart
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
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
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...more
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...more
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
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!
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.
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 5 of 5 stars
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
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.
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
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.
Jason Farley
This was a really helpful book in starting tho think about city planning and living in cities from a Christan perspective.
What a wonderful portrayal of what it looks like to build a city around the framework of community.
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 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: new urbanism and christianity
interested in new urbanism and a christian perspective? Jacobsen is great
Steven Wedgeworth
A great marriage of Christian piety and new urbanism.
Noai Leidenfrost
interesting thoughts on Christian city planning.
I wanted to like it...
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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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