Sometime around 2008, a demographic shift of historic proportions took place, a watershed moment in which, for the first time in history, more than 50% of the world s population lived in cities. The percentage of city-dwellers is projected to swell to more than 70% by 2050. While many of today s cities concentrate wealth and power, they also house some of the most vulnerable populations and distressed communities in the world. The juxtaposition of affluence and poverty in urban areas raises questions of justice.
Cities also concentrate opportunity and attract diverse populations. Five Western cities Chicago, London, New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto include people of nearly every ethnic background on the face of the planet. These cosmopoli, and other diverse cities throughout the world, raise important questions about community, identity, and diversity.
As part of Zondervan s Ordinary Theology series, Noah Toly s Cities of Tomorrow and the City to Come reflects on the tensions between contemporary urban life and Christian theology. How are Christians to live between the already, the cities of tomorrow in our world, and the not yet, the city yet to come (Hebrews 13:14)? He guides readers toward cultivating two types of imagination in response: the prophetic on one hand, emphasizing important distinctions between one city and another, and the apocalyptic on the other, emphasizing the infinite distance between any city and the City of God."