cities and suburbs

What’s your opinion of cities and suburbs? 

Preparing to lead PRAXIS, an urban discipleship program, yet living and working in the suburbs, I find myself wrestling with the often tenuous relationship between cities and suburbs. 

Caricatures of both city and suburb abound. For some, cities represent life and creativity and connection - the center of the all things culture. Suburbs are boring, homogenous places of over-consumption and narrow-mindedness. For others, cities are too busy, crowded, dirty, and if anything, full of cultural corruption. Suburbs are quiet, safe, spacious, and definitely morally superior.

Yet for anyone’s who lived in both cities and suburbs will know, caricatures are always incomplete. “Cities good - suburbs bad” and vice-versa just isn’t true. Instead, one finds a combination of light and darkness, good and bad in whatever the place. In their song, “Take Back the City,” Snow Patrol captures this tension well, a description I think could describe many places in our world. They describe the city as a place that has “both cradled you and crushed.” The urban domain is “a mess, it's a start, it's a flawed work of art” - yet a place we “love” nonetheless.

As one immersed in both cities and suburbs, I find such honesty refreshing, compelling me to engage the world around me, both cities and suburbs.


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