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SOC123G Social Problems: Unit 13 Urban Life Unit 13: Urban Life References Bast, J. L. (1998, February 23). Sports stadium madness: Why it started, how to stop it . Retrieved March 16, 2002, from The Heartland Institute Web site: http://www.heartland.org/studies/sports/madness-ps.htm

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SOC123G Social Problems: Unit 13 Urban Life


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soc123g social problems unit 13 urban life
SOC123G Social Problems:

Unit 13

Urban Life

© 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

unit 13 urban life
Unit 13:Urban Life

References

Bast, J. L. (1998, February 23). Sports stadium madness: Why it started, how to stop it. Retrieved March 16, 2002, from The Heartland Institute Web site: http://www.heartland.org/studies/sports/madness-ps.htm

Kendall, D. (1998). Social problems in a diverse society. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Macionis, J. J. (2002). Social problems. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Mooney, L. A., Knox, D., & Schacht, C. (1997). Understanding social problems. Cincinnati, OH: Wadsworth.

Mooney, L. A., Knox, D., & Schacht, C. (2000). Understanding social problems (2nd ed.). Cincinnati, OH: Wadsworth.

© 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

devotions
Devotions

Does God have something against cities?

I have heard that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah are utterly evil. . .Then the Lord rained down fire and flaming tar from heaven upon Sodom and Gomorrah. . .eliminating all life. . .

Genesis 18:20b, 19:24, 25b (The Living Bible)

Go to the great city of Nineveh, and give them this announcement from the Lord: I am going to destroy you, for your wickedness rises before me; it smells to highest heavens.

Jonah 1:2 (The Living Bible)

© 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

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Unit 13:Urban Life

Urbanization

  • The transformation of a society from a rural to an urban one
  • The Industrial Revolution caused cities to grow rapidly and began to house most of the world’s population

© 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

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Unit 13:Urban Life
  • United States
    • 200 years ago, over 90% of the population lived in rural areas
    • Currently, less than 23% of the population live in rural areas

© 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

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Unit 13:Urban Life
  • Causes of urbanization
    • Pull
      • Higher income jobs were the result of the Industrial Revolution
      • Urban amenities
        • Entertainment
        • Libraries and museums
    • Push
      • Making a living as a farmer became more difficult as technology replaced farm hands

© 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

unit 13 urban life7
Unit 13:Urban Life

Urban Population

  • Cities or towns of 2,500 or more inhabitants

Urbanized Area

  • One or more places and the adjacent surrounding territory that together have a minimum population of 50,000

© 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

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Unit 13:Urban Life

Urbanism

  • The culture and lifestyle of city dwellers, often characterized by individualistic and cosmopolitan norms, values, and styles of behavior.

Urban Consciousness

  • An awareness of the consequences of city living--positive and negative

© 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

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Unit 13:Urban Life

Suburbs

  • The urbanlike areas surrounding central cities

Suburbanization

  • The process in which city dwellers move to the suburbs due to concern about the declining quality of life in urban areas

© 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

unit 13 urban life10
Unit 13:Urban Life

Metropolitan Area

  • Consists of a central core area containing a large population, together with adjacent communities that have a high degree of social and economic integration with the core--large cities and their surrounding suburbs

© 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

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Unit 13:Urban Life

Deindustrialization

  • The loss or relocation of manufacturing industries out of the central cities

Deconcentration

  • The redistribution of the population from cities to suburbs and surrounding areas

© 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

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Unit 13:Urban Life

Urban Sprawl

  • Rapid, unplanned, and low-density development at the edge of urban areas
    • Caused by the decentralization of the urban population
    • Problems with urban sprawl
      • Numbing sameness of much of this cityscape
      • Consuming land at a rapid rate (low-density use)
      • Automobile use

© 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

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Unit 13:Urban Life

Edge Cities

  • Business centers located some distance from the old downtowns
    • Movement of businesses away from the central city

© 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

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Unit 13:Urban Life

Decentralization and the Urban Poor

The decentralization of the urban population into suburbs and edge cities raises one final concern: The high costs of suburban, automobile-based living screen out most of the poor. Urban decentralization, then, has a social-class dimension: The well-to-do move away from the central cities; the poor stay behind. As more jobs relocate to outlying areas, economic opportunity for inner-city residents keeps going down. This is one reason that the highest concentrations of poverty are now found in central cities.

© 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

unit 13 urban life regionalism
Unit 13:Urban Life: Regionalism

Regionalization

  • Residents of suburbs “use” city services and cultural offerings without paying taxes for them
  • A metropolitan-wide government is formed to handle the inequities and concerns of both suburban and urban areas

© 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

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Unit 13:Urban Life: Regionalism

Sport Stadiums and Regionalism

  • A variation of the regionalism theme is the issue of sports stadiums subsidized by local tax dollars (often property tax, sales tax, and/or entertainment tax ).
  • The problem is that it is not unusual for the working poor locked into the “official city limits” to subsidized the sports stadiums for the middle/upper middle classes who live outside the city limits and/or county line limits—often the working poor cannot afford to purchase the tickets for the games held in the stadiums that their sale taxes subsidized.
  • Some of the population of the “greater region” might enjoy the benefits of the stadium without bearing the burden of the subsidy--except for the sales tax paid on the ticket/food/parking—which is a MINOR contribution to the total subsidy.

© 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

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Unit 13:Urban Life: Regionalism

Sports Stadiums Madness:

Why it Started, How to Stop It (Bast, 1998)

  • The United States in the grip of a massive spending spree on professional sports
  • Nationally, subsidies to professional sport facilities are costing taxpayers approximately $500 million a year
  • Competition among cities for professional sport franchises has dramatically lowered rent payments from teams, often to zero--operating subsidies have become the rule

© 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

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Unit 13:Urban Life: Regionalism
  • Taxpayers must bear the risk that the deal struck with the private team owners or developer to repay the bonds falls short due to poor attendance, cost overruns, or some other reason
  • The big money in professional sports goes to the team owners and players, who may or may not invest or spend the money in the host community.
  • The lowly fan receives no benefit, and may even face higher ticket prices due to the waste and “gold plating” that the subsidy causes.
  • It is not unusual for cities to spend millions in sport stadium subsidies while at the same time neglecting infrastructural needs…such as dilapidating public school facilities.

© 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

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Unit 13:Urban Life: Regionalism

Note

The discussion about sports stadiums is related to the social problems created by the regionalism phenomenon. The instructor enjoys professional sports...and enjoys attending events at major sport stadiums.

© 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

unit 13 urban life structural functionalist perspective order paradigm
Unit 13:Urban Life : Structural-Functionalist Perspective (Order Paradigm)

The development of cities is a natural and functional one. Although cities initially functioned as centers of production and distribution, today they are centers of finance, administration, and information.

This shift of focus has contributed to the entrapment of certain population groups.

© 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

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Unit 13:Urban Life : Structural-Functionalist Perspective (Order Paradigm)

Urbanism’s Effect on Social Solidarity (Durkheim)

  • Mechanical solidarity
    • Social bonds based on shared religious beliefs and a simple division of labor--rural
  • Organic solidarity
    • Social bonds based on interdependence and an elaborate division of labor (specialization)--urban

(Kendall, 1998, p. 389)

© 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

unit 13 urban life symbolic interactionist perspective pluralist paradigm
Unit 13:Urban Life : Symbolic Interactionist Perspective (Pluralist Paradigm)

According to early German sociologist Georg Simmel, urban life is so highly stimulating that people have no choice but to become somewhat insensitive to events and individuals around them. Urban residents generally avoid emotional involvement with one another and try to ignore events--including violence and crime--that take place nearby. They are wary of other people, looking at others asstrangers. At the same time, Simmel thought that urban living could be liberating because it gives people opportunities for individualism and autonomy.

(Kendall, 1998, p. 390-391)

© 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

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Unit 13:Urban Life : Symbolic Interactionist Perspective (Pluralist Paradigm)

Classical Theoretical View (Lewis Wirth)

  • Because of the heterogeneity, density, and size of urban populations, interactions become segmented and transitory, resulting in weakened social bonds. Those bonds that do develop are superficial and detract from the closeness of primary relationships.
  • Wirth held that as social solidarity weakens, people develop certain social-psychological conditions including
    • Loneliness
    • Depression
    • Stress
    • Antisocial behavior

© 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

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Unit 13:Urban Life : Symbolic Interactionist Perspective (Pluralist Paradigm)

Modern Theoretical View (Herbert Gans)

  • Disagreed with Wirth--cities do not interfere with the development and maintenance of functional and positive interpersonal relationships
  • Gans saw the city as a patchwork quilt of different neighborhoods or urban villages, each of which helped individuals deal with the pressure of urban living

© 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

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Unit 13:Urban Life : Symbolic Interactionist Perspective (Pluralist Paradigm)

Subculture

  • Is a group of people who share a distinctive set of cultural beliefs and behaviors that set them apart from the larger society
  • To reduce problems of loneliness and alienation in city life, people develop subcultural ties to help them feel a sense of community and identity

(Kendall, 1998, p. 391)

© 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

unit 13 urban life conflict perspective conflict paradigm
Unit 13:Urban Life : Conflict Perspective (Conflict Paradigm)

As usual, conflict theorists study the “haves” versus the “have-nots.”

A good example of this concept in the urban context is how government run urban renewal projects often displace low income people in favor of attractive urban monuments (such as sport arenas). The desires of the middle class are ranked higher than the needs of the powerless.

© 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

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Unit 13:Urban Life

Urban Crime

  • The general population considers crime the number one social problem, urban crime is the focus of that opinion
  • Successful tactics in reducing urban crime
  • Community policing
    • Uniformed police officers patrol and responsible for certain areas of the city
  • Defensible space
    • Larger communities are divided into smaller sections
    • Architects and urban planners physically alter streets to discourage criminal activity, such as drive by shootings

© 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

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Unit 13:Urban Life

Disturbing Trends in Distressed Cities

  • The United States remains an urban nation--but of all urban dwellers, 60% now live in suburbs--not in the nation’s 522 central cities
  • Concentrations of the poor are increasing in all cities--in 1968 30% of the nation’s poor lived in cities--now the figure is 42%
  • Current building codes and zoning laws are so restrictive that it is often easier to allow existing residential property to deteriorate than to maintain or improve

© 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

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Unit 13:Urban Life
  • Jobs are leaving cities in massive numbers and are not being replaced--70% of new jobs, most requiring extensive technical training, are being created outside cities
  • Many older cities are burdened with foul physical sites created for a smokestack economy that no longer exists--existing governmental cleanup standards and related costs exceed the property’s value, and there are no compensating incentives

© 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

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Unit 13:Urban Life

Urban areas are experimenting with several innovative approaches toward revitalizing the center cities.

Newark, Ohio city government coordinates block by block renovations. It is a combination of orchestrating the various governmental agencies into one focus as well as motivating property owners, in a small well-defined area, to upgrade their property in unison with their neighbors.

© 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

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Unit 13:Urban Life

Cincinnati, Ohio is another example--

one of our own MVNC graduates, Dennis Dalton, renovated 100 plus years old housing in the center of Cincinnati. He assisted the working poor as well as physically revitalized a neighborhood--one building at a time.

© 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender