A few days ago I received an email from my good friend Dave Strunk. He referred me to an “excoriating” review of Why Cities Matter written by blogger Keith Miller. Since I recently reviewed the book for Christianity Today, and Mr. Miller and I rather different focal points for our reviews, let me respond to his critique. Argument: Mr. Miller points out a central weaknesses of Why Cities Matter: the slippery definition of the word “city.” In Keller’s introduction to the book, Miller deduces that Keller uses the word “city” to mean at least three things: 1. “The Top 100 City”—a metro area at least as populous as Wichita, Kansas; 2. “The Not-Rural Farmland City”—everything with a greater density than homestead farming; 3. “The Urban Center City”—places like Manhattan.” He draws this conclusion from Keller’s use of a Gallup pole and a UN statistic claiming “180,000 people move into cities each day.” Um and Buzzard switch between these slippery definitions throughout the book, at times referring to a major...Read More
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