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The Space Between: A Christian Engagement with the Built Environment

(Cultural Exegesis)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  94 ratings  ·  14 reviews
The entire material world can be divided between the Natural Environment and the Built Environment. Over the past forty years, the Natural Environment has received more attention of the two, but that is beginning to change. With a renewed interest in "place" within various academic disciplines and the practical issues of rising fuel costs and scarcity of land, the Built En ...more
Paperback, 298 pages
Published August 1st 2012 by Baker Academic
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Jun 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Wendell Berry and Wallace Stegner are both writers who care about places and spaces but they tend to be rural and wilderness spaces. Not so Eric Jacobsen who cares deeply about our urban architecture.

This book helped me understand the dysfunctions of my suburban community. Jacobsen makes the telling observation that good communities are like good pizzas. Every slice of a good pizza has all the ingredients of the whole pizza. When communities were designed around people being able to walk to chur
Dec 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. The author articulates a robust theology of creation. It provided me with much to reflect on regarding the use of space in a vision of human flourishing. Recommended for architects and landscape architects especially. I read it to help me think about values for the use of church buildings and space. It was very helpful in that regard.
Dave Brown
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
It’s funny…or perhaps sad….how the academic sorts of reading that I pushed through in grad school is now attractive to me as reading in my spare time. I suppose that, by the time I was reaching the end of my master’s program, I was sort of just realizing my true passions. Around that time is when I became fascinated by theological examinations of culture. I’ve also always been attracted to more urban lifestyles, so a theological examination of urbanism….or, more precisely, new urbanism…was bound ...more
David Shelton
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don’t know of too many Biblical Christians who are interested in the built environment and its many implications on our lives, but as a Christian and Civil Engineer, I am one of them. I found this book to be fantastic. The author, Eric Jacobsen, is a Presbyterian (PCA) Pastor and he does a great job of laying out different elements of urban design and how they affect our life. He then breaks down how Christians should think about the Urban Environment from a Biblically sound, Kuyperian theolog ...more
Patrick Schlabs
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book that could serve as an introduction to urban planning for pastors and an introduction to biblical theology for urban planners. Very well researched and written with a great deal of further reading. A fantastic book on the intersection of Christianity and culture.
Ethan Starcher
Aug 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting and necessary examination of how Christians interact with the created world.
What kind of car would Jesus drive? And he certainly would have to drive, were he to initiate a ministry in 21st century America, for it is an place impossible to navigate otherwise. The Space Between: A Christian Engagement with the Built Environment explores the spiritual, religious aspects of ...urban planning. A book that quotes liberally from both the Judeo-Christian bible and authors like Jane Jacobs makes for a decidedly odd and manifestly intriguing combination, at least for someone like ...more
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm giving this 5 stars not because it's perfect or because I agree with all its ideas, but of the many books I've been reading this winter/spring on the topic of space and place, I found it far and away the most practical and helpfully constructed, even as it remains rooted in robust Christian theology.

Jacobsen roots his presentation of New Urbanism and other models in a unified Kingdom theology that moves from the garden to the city (with gardens). It was good to get a fairly comprehensive tr
Jun 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book makes the ideas behind the New Urbanism movement more accessible to non-professionals. How we can change the built environment to improve our communities and our lives. It is such a pity that because it is Christian book many people won't read it.

The built environment has a big impact on our lives. Public health studies have shown the layout of streets and parks in your neighbour hood influences how much you exercises and how much you will mingle with your neighbours and form relations
Nathan Carter
Apr 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! It further developed my convictions about cities and neighborhoods. I might quibble with a few of his points (i.e. I think he is unfair to the "Two Kingdoms" theory). But I wish every thoughtful Christian would read this book and think more deeply about questions like where to live, what makes for a flourishing community, and how our lives have been profoundly and adversely affected by unbiblical notions of the good life that have been accepted uncritically. ...more
Apr 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
A Christian's first book of urbanism, reflecting passions both for Biblical Christianity and for life in communities. It makes a persuasive case that Christians should care about the design of towns. Thorough, sometimes dense prose, interspersed with anecdotes and thought-provoking suggestions like "the orange juice test." ...more
Aug 15, 2012 rated it liked it
This book was a giveaway. The author presented subject matter and many ideas that I had not been exposed to previously. Much of the content was presented in an academic or text book style that was rich in detail and deep in substance. I am glad that I read this book.
Nov 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cities, christian
A great introduction to get Christians thinking about the benefit of smart urban design.
Robert  Baird
Apr 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Planning theory in this book is very solid and presented in a very concise and digestible way. Lots of good, important theology as well.
Mitch Kelly
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May 15, 2015
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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

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Cultural Exegesis (7 books)
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