I want to spend my life in orchards and alfalfas. Walk-up brownstones and saunters to the subway do nothing for me. I don’t dream of Malayo-afghan fusion food. I dream of Blandings. Of Penhurst. “The traffic of the world gives way to silence and peace.” Etc.
Joel Kotkin, a New Urbanist type, has just come out with an argument that religion and faith were historically the organizing elements non pareil of urban environments. In his book, The City: A Global History, and in accompanying articles, he argues that New Urbanism revilatization of cities has failed because it has failed to include religion. More generally, he argues that that Richard Florida model–making cities grow by attracting the young and the edgy–is a hair of the dog that bit you cure.
We shall see. Perhaps Mormonism can survive without the city, and the city without Mormonism. But I suspect that we’ll never see the flowering of a Mormon culture–and in that flowering there lie waiting glories–until there is a place that is both consciously Mormon and consciously urban.