Blessed is the city – Gezegend is de stad

Nice Northumberland picture from last winter.

Today is World Habitat Day and this year’s theme is Harmonious Cities.

Blessed is the house

Blessed is the house

Yes, I know, this photo doesn’t fit the theme, but I do live out in the sticks and don’t have any photos of cities. Besides I rather prefer photos from the countryside. This house is just down the hill from where I live.

I thought it was interesting that UN-HABITAT choose this year’s theme Harmonious Cities to indicate cities being inclusive communities where everyone and every culture is at home.  It reminds me very much of what the worldwide Baha’i community aims for in all its activities, being inclusive and welcoming to all. Every activity and event focusing on building inclusive communities in which age, ethnicity, economic or educational background etc. don’t matter because we’re all in it together, working together to build a better world.

I once was asked in a job interview where I’d want to live on an scale from a large city to ‘een hutje op de hei’ (if you don’t read Dutch, just look at the photo, that’s it) and anything in between those 2 extremes. Well, I’d be in somewhere in a village or small town. Where would you be?

Unfortunately, the majority of the world population lives in towns and cities. Even worse, more than 1 billion people live in urban slums with few facilities and poor or no infrastructure. This urbanization of poverty and its environmental impact are challenging development ideas at a grande scale. Dealing with these issues requires real, honest cooperation amongst many people to be willing and able to apply creative solutions for inclusive community building.

Thinking about towns, villages and cities also reminds me of this prayer revealed by Baha’u’llah:

“Blessed is the spot, and the house, and the place, and the city, and the heart, and the mountain, and the refuge, and the cave, and the valley, and the land, and the sea, and the island, and the meadow where mention of God hath been made, and His praise glorified”.

“Gezegend zijn de plek en het huis en de plaats en de stad en het hart en de berg en de schuilplaats en de grot en het dal en het land en de zee en het eiland en de weide waar God wordt genoemd en Zijn eer wordt verheerlijkt”.

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