In Till We Have Built Jerusalem, Bess presents a four-part case for good
urbanism or, as I might call it, a good experience of a good city. The
four parts can be summarized as cities and human flourishing; cities and
the sacred; cities and New Urbanism; and finally critical essays on the
topic. While lacking a single-threaded argument, the book nevertheless
holds together thematically, and the message repeated throughout goes
like this: The best life for human beings is the life of moral and
intellectual virtue lived in community with others, the chief community
of which is the city. The good city is the city with good urban design.
Which is what? Very simply, it is a city full of mixed-use, walkable
neighborhoods, the vision articulated by advocates of the New Urbanism,
or "traditional urbanism," as Bess calls it.