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Urban Challenges. AP Human Geography. What is the “inner city?”. Residential neighborhoods that surround the CBD. Suburbs exist on the periphery (edge) of the city . Inner city residents face a unique set of challenges . Higher density

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Urban Challenges

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Urban Challenges

AP Human Geography

What is the “inner city?”

  • Residential neighborhoods that surround the CBD.

  • Suburbs exist on the periphery (edge) of the city.

  • Inner city residents face a unique set of challenges.

  • Higher density

  • High concentrations of low income residents (compared to the suburbs)

  • Crime, poverty

What Happened?

  • Great Migration

    • Blacks from the South were pushed into certain areas of the city aka ghettos.

    • High concentrations of poverty, over crowded

  • Because of restrictive covenants, blacks had trouble moving out of the “ghetto.”

    • Houses in certain areas could only be sold to whites.

  • Decline of industry= loss of jobs

    • Increase in illegal activity/ gangs/ drugs/ etc.

Chicago’s Black Belt

Public Housing

  • Housing projects were built to alleviate the poverty faced by those living in the ghetto.

  • Dr. King visited Chicago and praised the construction of the projects.

  • Over time, they deteriorated and became havens of violence and crime.


  • Houses grow old and fall into a state of disrepair.

    • Properties decline in value, not worth maintaining

  • Landlords abandon properties instead of maintaining them.

  • Filtering- larger houses are divided into multiple units.

    • Cheaper rent

    • Higher concentration of low income residents


  • Loans are denied to people living in areas

  • These areas fall into greater disrepair since people cannot get loans to improve their property.

  • Today, the practice is illegal, but was widespread 1920’s-70’s.

Redlining in Philly, 1936

Urban Renewal

  • The process of identifying blighted neighborhoods, purchasing the property, clearing the site (including residents), and redeveloping the area.

    • Condos, shops, etc.

    • Material conditions improve

  • Controversy: destroys traditional neighborhoods, “negro removal” (1960s)

  • Most residents are forced to relocate, although some units may be set aside for low income residents.

Look at this……

Near West Side, Chicago


20 years ago

Sign of the Times

Change in Income 1970 to 2012


  • Middle class suburbanites move back into the city and renovate housing

    • Shorter commute, closer to nightlife/ recreation

  • Rents/ taxes increase

  • Low income residents are pushed out of their neighborhoods

Social Issues

  • Underclass- refers to residents trapped in continuous economic and social problems.

  • “Culture of Poverty”

    • Unemployment

    • Reliance on welfare/ assistance

    • Alcoholism

    • Drug addiction

    • Lack of education

    • Crime

    • Homelessness

Economic Issues

  • Inner city residents require public services, but cannot pay taxes to cover them.

  • Two choices:

  • Reduce Services (close libraries, reduce public transit, outdated school equipment, SCHOOL CLOSINGS!)

    • Middle class residents may leave

  • Raise Taxes

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