Architecture and Urbanism Primer

My wife is educated in architecture and, over time, she has drilled it through my thick skull that the way that we arrange our cities has a profound effect upon our lives. In the words of Winston Churchill, “we shape our buildings, and our buildings shape us.”

Furthermore, as anyone who has spent any time with my wife knows, the suburbs have been an historic mistake in city planning. Exactly why that is the case, and how this is a pervasive justice issue that should concern Christians is not always clear to the uninitiated.

To those who would like a good introduction to the subject, read Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream. For a free introduction on the web, I commend a recently published series by Philip Bess, an author and professor of architecture at the University of Notre Dame. The four part series:

  1. Introduction: Why Architecture Matters
  2. Why Architecture Matters, Part II
  3. Why Architecture Matters, Part III: Urban Formal Order and Natural Law
  4. Why Architecture Matters, Part IV: Illustrations of T-zones / A New Urbanist Creed

This series is lengthy and sometimes technical, but nowhere inaccessible. I highly recommend at least browsing through these, even if you don’t think that you have the time available for a full reading, which would be far better. For the wise who read it all and are desiring more to read, Bess has an interesting-looking collection of essays on his own site.

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