Radius Global Cities Network is devoted to providing resources for faith-based engagement of cities through research, resources, and networking. Cities are undoubtedly key influencers of human civilization. Modern cities, coupled with advances in digital and mobile technologies, are increasingly “smart cities” and generate huge amounts of data that can be harvested, mined, and analyzed to support decision making for urban community leaders and activists. By the middle of the 21st century, over 68 percent of the world’s total population will live in the cities. Today’s cities are complex, multifaceted social organizations that demand thoughtful understanding and in-depth research.
Radius Global Cities Network exists to address these challenges of 21st century cities and harness the opportunities to drive forward the welfare of cities and all who live in them. Radius aims to be a hub for urban research, particularly global urban research. As cities grow and morph on every continent, we need sound research that is collected and available to scholars all over the world.
Another aspect that makes Radius unique is the focus on faith in the urban context. So much research and urban policy ignores the role of faith in the lives of urban dwellers as well as the role of faith communities as key stakeholders in urban well-being. In addition to the common topics of urban research, Radius will give focus to faith issues as it pertains to cities.
Research written and collected by Radius draws from a variety of methods and disciplines. We believe we can get a better understanding of our cities through multidisciplinary research. We firmly believe that we can better love our urban neighbor by being well-informed. Radius intends to be a place of consolidated research on a wide variety of topics in urban issues.
Radius Global Cities Network officially launched as a nonprofit organization in December, 2019. In February, Radius hosted a research consultation with the goal of collecting data from dozens of consultants from urban centers around the world. In addition, Radius participated in the World Urban Forum (WUF10) in Abu Dhabi in February, 2020. Radius was a co-host of the “Faith and Urban Resilience Research Workshop,” as well as a WUF Networking Event on “Faith and Religion as a Pathway for Implementing the New Urban Agenda: Insights from Researchers and Practitioners.”
Radius Global Cities Network has its origins in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Radius Initiatives Berhad officially began in December of 2013. From the beginning, the goal was to promote the common good of Asian cities. Radius has continued to serve alongside urban churches, individuals and institutions to improve the wellbeing of the urban communities. The four key areas for Radius Initiatives were: advocacy and awareness; training and equipping; think-tank; and applied innovation. Radius has been able to offer formal and informal equipping, co-sponsor events like the biennual national diaspora symposium, hosted the International Society for Urban Mission Summit in 2014, and been involved in ongoing work among the urban poor in Malaysia.
About the Directors of Radius Global Cities Network
Minh Ha Nguyen
Minh Ha was born in war torn Vietnam, grew up as a refugee in Switzerland, and lived for decades as a foreign student and resident alien in the United States. His experiences have shaped his understanding of God’s love for cities and peoples on the move.
He currently works at the International Mission Board (SBC), providing city intelligence to inform the global church on the state of the urban world and to support the Christian mission in strategic decision-making about cities and diasporas engagement.
At Radius Global Cities Network, a think tank that he co-founded, Minh Ha directs the quantitative research aspects, developing databases of cities, decision support systems, and qualitative analysis of global trends that affect the Great Commission in the 21st century such as globalization, urbanization and migration.
In 2009 Minh Ha started the International Community Church, a house-church network that reaches people groups from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East living in his city of Richmond, Va. Minh Ha is completing a Ph.D. in Applied Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He lives in Richmond, Va., with his wife Corinne and two young adult daughters, Lois and Wendelyn.
Michael D. Crane
Michael was raised in the international cities of Taipei, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Manila. At an early age, Michael developed a love for the vibrancy of cities. After completing a BS in Social Work from Samford University and working for a couple of years, he went to Gateway Seminary in the San Francisco Bay Area where he completed an MDiv and ThM (theology).
Michael and his wife moved to Southeast Asia in 2005, working in a variety of roles with development agencies. During this time, Michael completed a PhD in urban missiology. Michael serves on the faculty of two graduate schools. In addition to a number of articles and book chapters, Michael has authored/co-authored several books, including: Sowing Seeds of Change: Cultivating Transformation in the City(Urban Loft, 2015) and City Shaped Churches: Planting Churches in the Global Era (Urban Loft, 2018).
Wilson Geisler is the Director of Global Research for the International Mission Board (IMB) based in Richmond, Virginia. Wilson has a passion for technology and its impact on ethical and sociological issues in urban centers. Wilson has a BS in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University and a MS in Structural Engineering from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana and was a licensed, practicing structural engineer in Texas for over 15 years. Wilson is also a software developer and was the owner of Inertia Software, Inc. in Austin, Texas from 1995 to 2000. In addition, Wilson has a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Now calling Virginia home, Wilson lived outside of the United States for almost 13 years primarily in large urban centers in South Asia and the Middle East and brings to Radius his experiential knowledge of urban issues in these contexts. Wilson has been happily married to Natalie for 33 years, and they have 2 grown children.
Lisa Hoff is the Director of the Kim School of Global Missions and Chair of Intercultural Studies at Gateway Seminary. Lisa graduated with an MDiv and MAIS from Gateway prior to pursuing her PhD in Intercultural Studies at Biola University. She lived in East Asia for fifteen years as an educator, intercultural trainer, and business entrepreneur. She also supervised multicultural and multinational teams focused on community development and strategic engagement. She has conducted urban ethnographic research projects in different parts of Asia and continues to train graduate students in urban research methods. In addition to serving as co-editor for the International Journal of Urban Transformation, her ongoing research and writing focuses on the economic, spiritual, and social implications of rapid urbanization on the lives of women throughout the Majority World. Lisa also serves on the board for two global training organizations and provides seminary education to Christian leaders in countries around the world.
John Brady is the vice president for global engagement with the International Mission Board (IMB). He previously served as regional leader for mission work in Northern Africa and the Middle East, where he led Southern Baptist workers to spread the gospel. John grew up in Guyana as the son of Southern Baptist missionaries. He earned a bachelor’s degree in urban studies from Furman University and a master’s degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Jenny, have been with IMB for over two decades.
Welcome to Our Content Coordinator: Billy Bean
Billy was raised in a small town nestled in the central highlands of Arizona. As a kid, he remembers often seeing the orange glow of a city permeating the night sky night at the end of horizon. About 80 miles, to the south, America’s 6th largest city (Phoenix), shined through the night, appearing to never sleep. Billy’s curiosity with what laid beyond in that city in the distance, has since developed into passion for the exploration and study of cities all over the world.
Billy has worked in both the for profit and nonprofit sectors in major American cities such as Los Angeles and Chicago as well as Asia. He has studied urban anthropology and missiology at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Billy completed his MDiv at Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY, and will soon begin further studies at the University of Nottingham. In recent years, he and his wife have been living in three different Asian cities, learning and experiencing urban life in Asian contexts.
At Radius Global, Billy coordinates relevant content for the website, blog, podcast, and data portal. He ensures proper access, performance, and consistent content on all social media and digital platforms.