Term Paper: Urban Problems

Pages: 5 (1545 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  Topic: Urban Studies  ·  Buy This Paper

Urban Problems

The future of community development depends on the effective integration of social, economic, and environmental imperatives. When two or more of these key issues conflict, the community faces tough challenges in the decision-making process. Unfortunately, social, economic, and environmental issues frequently conflict, frequently leading to ineffective urban planning policies. Almost every social institution plays a key role in alleviating community problems, including schools, criminal justice, and social service systems. Activist organizations and private institutions also have a strong bearing on shaping or influencing community policies and often reflect the interest of minority and disenfranchised community members. Urban governments, although run by elected officials, cannot possibly represent all community members. Protecting the rights of minority groups can prevent social unrest and ensure social justice. The plethora of issues facing urban planners, developers, policy makers and residents requires a skillful juggling of funds, effective communication skills, and creativity.

Dr. Martin Luther King stated in his "Letter from Birmingham Jail," "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Creating justice in the modern American community entails eliminating racism from all social institutions. Law enforcement remains plagued by issues related to race and race has a bearing on response rates; proximity of law enforcement officials or law enforcement offices in the community; arrest rates; and prosecutorial procedures. Preventing and healing race-related problems in law enforcement involves a multifaceted approach that begins with increasing awareness of race-related issues at all levels of training and education. However, poverty and race are often inextricably linked, affecting the daily lives of individual community members and creating vicious cycles of oppression and disenfranchisement. Children who grow up poor often experience discrimination regardless of their ethnic background. One of the most fundamental features of effective urban development programs is the stimulation of local economies through small business development.

In addition to investing more resources into local small business development, community planners must ensure adequate housing for low-income families and individuals. At the same time, communities thrive economically when investors are welcome to redevelop underused land for high-end housing. Ideally, urban centers should represent all income groups, subsidizing housing for poorer individuals so that they can free up their hard-earned income, consume more local goods, thereby stimulating the local economy and enabling more poor persons to achieve social mobility. Rather than welcome chain stores with poor reputation for employee relations, urban planners should instead invest in government-funded programs that stimulate entrepreneurship. Small business development also needs to center on encouraging more women and minority entrepreneurs, because these groups suffer most from poverty and disenfranchisement. Poverty breeds apathy, and apathy breeds disorganized communities and problems related to community safety. Urban planners must view projects like parks, community centers, and general beautification as sound investments. When residents, especially young residents, view their neighborhoods as welcoming, pleasant places they are more likely to contribute back to the community.

Community budgets should also consider education as a top priority. Improving the quality of infrastructure and services in public schools will improve student achievement outcomes. Instead of focusing unduly on grades and other traditional assessment measures, schools should instead seek to inspire youth through curriculum revival and renewed emphasis on arts, music, and athletics. Community centers can also be linked with schools to provide adequate after-school resources. Community-funded after-school resources promote community safety because they help youth channel their energies into healthy and creative pursuits rather than illegal behaviors. Improving community centers also benefits all community members by offering gyms and other services that help persons of all ages remain healthy.

Youth are often viewed and treated as problems, creating age-related discrimination in communities. When youth are treated respectfully in schools and when schools are viewed as top priorities by community budget planners, the entire neighborhood will notice improved safety and well-being. Age discrimination also applies to elderly members of the community. Seniors need as many social services as youth do. Community centers can and should cater to seniors, offering courses and services that help seniors network and stay connected. Isolation is a common problem for seniors because of American family structure patterns and increased longevity. When taxpayer funds are allocated reasonably, with attention paid to improving local services for poor, minority, and disenfranchised groups, raising money becomes less of a problem. Taxpayers have gripes when their money bears no visible fruit. Visible proof of taxpayer monies that are well-spent locally include services like free wireless Internet throughout the city, a reduction in local traffic and pollution, and optimized response times for law enforcement calls.

Communities also need to take charge of their own back yards through effective recycling and other environmentally-related programs. Curbside recycling helps stimulate participation. Strategically placed and ubiquitous trash receptacles and recycling bins also increase the rate at which residents and visitors contribute to keeping the streets clean. Improving public transportation services and making them not only more extensive but also easier to navigate will reduce the numbers of cars on city streets. Fewer cars translates to more pleasant neighborhoods with less air and noise pollution.

Finally, all communities should stimulate tourism by improving services and infrastructure for visitors. Effective public transportation is one way to help tourists enjoy their stay within the community. Clean and safe streets also ensure frequent visitors. Investing in heritage attractions, athletic arenas, and convention centers are other ways to help the local economy grow and thrive. Encouraging entrepreneurs to invest in service industries including restaurants, bars, and hotels also helps improve future prospects for tourism dollars. Tourism dollars benefit all community members by increasing overall revenues.

Nevertheless, no community budget is limitless and taxes must remain at reasonable rates. That which community budgets cannot cover falls within the responsibility of privately-funded groups including anti-poverty coalitions, organizations that help disabled members of the community, or environmental protection groups. Each special interest coalition or organization can all help increase awareness of local issues without funneling funds away from the taxpayer budget. Community-based organizations can be staffed by volunteers and paid workers and youth can be recruited to aid organizations while at the same time offering valuable experience to young people. Many non-profit organizations devoted to improving neighborhoods qualify for federal and state funding, thereby relieving pressures on local budgets. Institutions like education and law enforcement likewise receive federal and state funding, but the allocation of those funds should be optimized at the local level.

The Urban Unit of 2050 will vary in manifestation depending on its cultural context. In the United States, the Urban Unit is likely to be technologically and logistically linked with urban units around the world. Telecommunications infrastructures will have evolved so that wireless services are standard. By that time, Internet will be as prevalent worldwide as phone is now. Thoroughly integrated telecommunications systems offer huge advantages for economic and creative progress. The Urban Unit will include more fully automated systems including those for waste management. Advanced waste management systems will reduce environmental burdens and water purification will become standard worldwide. By 2050 no community in the world will be without clean drinking water because of its fundamental importance for human health and well-being.

Human beings will still be human in 2050, however, and corruption will remain endemic throughout the urban centers of the world. However, corruption will be easier to detect and stop because of the proliferation of watchdog groups that are aided by advanced telecommunications systems. Greater pride and interest in the local community will also have reduced the apathy and cynicism that currently prevail in the political consciousness. Although surveillance will be far more widespread in 2050 than it is now, privacy will remain a key social value and the law will protect individuals from privacy invasion through legislation.

The world will be a smaller place in 2050, more linked economically and culturally. Increased contact with diverse political viewpoints is… [END OF PREVIEW]

Urban Planning Problems in the Developing World Literature Review Chapter


Urban Sprawl in Europe Article Critique


Social Problems 8489 Three Essay


History of Urban Planning Research Proposal


Racism and America's Urban Cycle Question Research Proposal


View 1,000+ other related papers  >>

Cite This Term Paper:

APA Format

Urban Problems.  (2007, February 20).  Retrieved August 21, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/urban-problems/167706

MLA Format

"Urban Problems."  20 February 2007.  Web.  21 August 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/urban-problems/167706>.

Chicago Format

"Urban Problems."  Essaytown.com.  February 20, 2007.  Accessed August 21, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/urban-problems/167706.