Urban Culture Transcends Borders

My urban journey has gone from Kabul to Amsterdam to Cape Town and as I lived in these very different places, I became fascinated with the rise of cities.  I was provoked to develop a theology of the city, which I have reflected in my book, 'Seeing the City With the Eyes of God'.
Here is what I learned about urban culture:
  • Urban cultures are like mountain tops... everything flows down from there to smaller towns and rural areas regardless of national borders and language differences.
  • Urban cultures are trend setters.   What happens in cities today happens in the rest of the world 5 and 10 years from now.
  • Urban cultures are multi-ethnic.  When I moved to Amsterdam there were 114 languages spoken in the city.  Today, there are more than 180 languages spoken there.
  • Vast segments of worldwide urban culture identify with American youth culture via TV, music and movies.
  • This identification is producing a hostility and backlash in certain parts of the world, namely the Middle East and the Muslim world.
  • Urban young adults are vastly different from their rural counterparts.
  • Urban sub-cultures are like villages stacked on top of each other, connecting via ethnic similarity and language, not urban geography.
  • Cities have personalities... some are financial centers, some are fashion and cultural trend setters, and still others are the center of gravity for spiritual appetite and curiosity.