When Michael Harrington wrote The Other America 40 years ago, he pointed out that the advent of freeways linking suburban homes to downtown offices had rendered the poverty of the inner city invisible to many Americans. The city had become the home of the poor, the disadvantaged and the disenfranchised.
Since then there have been some important efforts to reclaim the possibilities and the promise of cities—part of a movment sometimes called the New Urbanism. Two articles in this issue make it clear that beneath the planning, zoning and development issues identified by the New Urbanism lie moral, spiritual and theological issues about what a community is and can be. So far, not many religious voices have taken part in the conversation.