Community and Societal Development

How can cross-cultural development workers help communities and societies thrive by following godly principles?

Reflection: The Wealth of Cities

WCIU Journal: Community and Societal Development Topic

December 13, 2015

by Beth Snodderly

city scape.jpg

Recently I was in the Denver airport and saw a large ad by Prudential saying trillions of dollars are being invested in cities globally to change them from being run down to thriving. Prudential calls this a “mega trend” and has a white paper called, “The Wealth of Cities.”

In introducing their “Wealth of Cities” paper Prudential says, “Never in history has the pace of urbanization been so rapid: 60 to 70 million people moving to cities every year for the next few decades. $50 trillion in global infrastructure needs. The emergence of ‘Smart’ cities, with 26 billion wired connections by 2020. This ‘prime time’ of urban expansion creates a wealth of new opportunities for investors.” That’s Prudential’s interest in cities: an investment opportunity.

But what is the opportunity for God’s Kingdom? How can NGOs work strategically, with God’s purposes in mind, in the complex living systems in the cities of the world?

This reminds me of the heavenly city in Revelation 21: “the glory of God gives it light, and … the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.” Their glory is their unique cultural perspective for understanding who God is. The task of the Great Commission will not be completed until some from every tribe and tongue and nation are able to bring their glory and wealth into the heavenly city.