Philip Bess likes cities, especially Chicago. He likes cities that work--cities that do not just promote commercial and cultural activity and move traffic, garbage and pedestrians efficiently, but that create a space for human flourishing. Cities are not utilitarian entities governed by impersonal market forces. They are moral entities, Bess argues. A professor of architecture at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, he is one of a few thinkers doing serious theological reflection on the state of modern architecture and urbanism. This concern is well reflected in this collection of essays spanning some 15 years.
Bess, a neotraditionalist, argues that "architecture in every age should be orderly, durable, comfortable, beautiful and reflect the social significance of the institutions it signifies and the virtues it symbolizes." Traditional architecture pays attention to a formal and moral order that values both individual freedom and communal belonging.