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The Spirituality and Practice e-newsletter is a weekly update from Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat with teaching stories and links to new posts on the site.

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Beyond City Limits


In Foreign Policy, Parag Khanna writes that in the new world order, cities are replacing nations. Right now, they are the engines of globalization with just 100 cities generating 30 percent of the world's economy. Western cities, according to the author, used to be the leading urban centers but now are being challenged by Asia-Pacific financial megacities such as Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney, and Tokyo. The monarchies of the Persian Gulf are creating new cities such as Abu Dhabi's solar-powered, car-free Masdar City. On the other hand, millions of urban squatters are thronging into the world's largest cities and creating an ever expanding global migrant underclass that is exploited in factories and businesses. The rich are creating gated communities with their own stores, schools, and clubs to keep apart from them. In many places the gulf between the rich and the poor has created an increasing number of kidnappings of wealthy people held for ransom. By 2025, China is expected to have 15 supercities with an average population of 25 million whereas Europe will have none. South Korea's Songdo project, the most expensive private development in history, will be the world's first sentient city, "using advanced communications technologies to make life seamlessly interactive, from homes to schools to hospitals." Keeping an eye on the cities of the future is a good idea, Khanna concludes, since they are "the world's experimental laboratories and thus a metaphor for an uncertain age." In the future, we hope to do a blog titled City Spirituality where we will focus on the manifold ways we can polish our spirits in an urban environment.

See also the photo essay on cities.

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