Politics of Urban and Suburban Planning Term Paper

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urban and suburban planning. It discusses the effects that years of uncontrolled urban and suburban sprawl have had on culture, society and members of those communities. The negative health effects of urban and suburban sprawl are discussed, specifically those associated with air pollution. Issues regarding the efficient use of transportation are also discussed, specifically how these are, or are not incorporated when planning new communities or improving existing ones. Political debates and issues regarding the urban and suburban planning are also explored. This document focuses and discusses the popular debates that have occurred in recent times and how these affect the future of planning. This document also discusses some of the suggestions that are popular when trying to resolve problems related to planning. Smart planning is discussed in this document, smart planning which calls for more efficient and innovative methods when planning new communities. The opposition against smart planning is also discussed as well as the deliberative democracy approach to settling political disputes relating to urban and suburban planning.

In both Urban and Suburban planning politics loom large because politics greatly affect and tend to influence the way that decisions are made. In many places around the globe and especially in America the politics surrounding urban and suburban planning are of great importance because everyday cities and communities within these cities become more racially, morally, economically and politically diverse. Needles to say with the influx of so much diversity their will disagreements and conflicts of interests' regarding the way that urban and suburban planning is done and how these plans are implemented.

Since the 1950's in America suburban developments have become an uncontrollable entity. The grow at a rapid rate due to both social and economic reasons, builders in the 1950's realized the huge economic potential that the sale and mass production of homes have, after all owning a home is the realization of the American dream, it has been imbedded into American popular culture . Following this much glamorized dream has however, had many impactful consequences. For more than fifty years developers have destroyed valuable wild areas and farmlands in order to construct identical cookie-cutter homes which sit on large lots of land. They do not use land efficiently enough and they do not take into account, and have little regard for the impact it will have on the environment. These types of developments into unincorporated parts of cities encourage automobile centered transportation and restrictive zoning. This makes it very difficult for members of those respective communities to satisfy their daily interests without having to travel long distances. At the same time suburban sprawl has had great cultural, economic and political impact. The shifting and redefining of boundaries between what is considered urban and rural has greatly affected the economy and it has also caused political debates between developers and activist who seek to stop this seemingly uncontrollable growth. As people flee to the new suburban areas investors abandon and cease to invest in older parts of urban areas, leaving them practically looking like ghost town riddled with crime and poverty. At the same time when developers construct new communities in rural areas they destroy important farmlands and wooded are areas that are critical in order to maintain economic stability. Farming is an important aspect of the economy that is continually threatened by suburban sprawl. As developers and builders continue to invade fertile agricultural lands, food supplies become threatened. This is because builders and planners do not design communities with efficiency in mind; they build with the intention of making profits. These builders and designers many times appeal to buyers with outlandish plans that do not use land efficiently enough as a result fertile farmlands are wasted.

As cities become denser and occupied, urban sprawl becomes unavoidable and urban sprawl brings with it a variety of controversial elements, political dynamics and also persistent disagreements about the way building plans should ultimately be carried out. In large metropolitan cities like Los Angeles or Atlanta, Georgia where populations continue on a steady incline there are persistent problems regarding urban and suburban sprawl. This is due to numerous problems that urban and suburban sprawl creates for the quality of life of residents. Urbanization creates numerous problems on various levels it impacts the environment by paving over farming land, which in turn can negatively affect rural economies which bear a great responsibility in the production of food for large segments of the global population. Deforestation is also a problem that has created much political turmoil as environmentalist seeks to protect the rapidly declining forests around the globe.

The strain on the infrastructure of industrialized nations is also something associated with urban and suburban planning and sprawl because it very challenging for planners and officials to accommodate and balance the needs of all the different segments of the population involved. Transportation and traffic are also areas of great political debate when discussing urban and suburban planning. It is very difficult to accommodate large populations which reside in relatively small areas of land in terms of square mileage. It becomes increasingly difficult to create an efficient and reliable transportation system when people refuse to accept and use alternative methods of transportation. This causes traffic congestions, traffic collisions and also air pollution. All these factors affect the quality of life of people and must be addressed while conducting plans for urban and suburban developments.

The problems that are created as a result of increases in this kind of planning are numerous and very complicated. They are very difficult to address because as mentioned before, as hordes of people rush to seek the beneficial opportunities that present themselves as a result of urban sprawl they also encounter the negative and very complicated effects that result from this. When presented with these negatives effects policy makers and civic leaders find it difficult to satisfy their constituents and residents because it is simply too difficult to satisfy such a wide ranging and diverse set of demographics which are culturally, morally and politically different. In order to combat the difficulties associated with urban and suburban sprawl such as adverse effects on public health and the environment, the implementation of new methods and strategies are being employed.

Still despite the implementation of new methods, the public and those affected by the urban sprawl remain disillusioned and weary of the promises and decisions that planners make. The public does not appear to take a realistic approach or truly understand the rich and complicated dynamics that play themselves out when planning new neighborhoods and communities. Too often people seem to look at planning to solve many problems that are not solely the responsibility of planners or developers. Political controversies associated with urban and suburban planning stand out because people tend to forget the positive and the achievements that good and effective planning have had in the past. We live in a society where people are interested in the here and now, and most importantly how they can benefit. As Alexander Garvin points out when discussing previous achievements of urban and suburban planning "triumphs are easy to overlook, local excitement about a successful project rarely spills out into national publications, other than those with a narrow group of readers" (Garvin 1). Garvin also points out that a political disillusionment with planning has now become deep seeded in the minds of Americans and other members of industrialized nations. This is because planners many times fail to deliver on promises they have made in the beginning stages of planning developments. This tends to happen because planners fail to consider the many objects both political, economic and social that stands in the way of delivering their well intended promises.

Political controversy regarding urban and suburban planning can many times happen because of an erroneous public perception. Although it is true that when taking the right approach in planning and developing communities, it can drastically affect the quality of life of its residents while at the same time improving the appearance and functionality of a community, it cannot however, solve all of society's problems. In order to avoid civic and political conflicts it is important for everyone to understand the capabilities and limitations that planning has, it is also important to understand its true definition of successful planning. Many can look at a certain city and see its stores filled, its roads full of luxurious cars, its homes and apartments full of renters and occupants, its large erected commercial and office buildings full of employees and mistakenly assume that the city is a shining example of successful planning when it is not. It might be economically successful but this kind of success is always compatible with true planning success. Garvin states the following when discussing successful planning "Only when a project has a beneficial impact on the surrounding community can it be considered successful planning, thus planning should be defined as public action that generates a sustained and widespread private market reaction. Which improves the quality…[continue]

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