People shape their cities in many ways and on many scales. Describe how socioeconomic factors can shaped the built environment from the entire city to the single public space. Discuss the most relevant example from the class/reading material and bring your own example from your own experience and observations
(Sustainable Development in Cities, USP 514 Class Discussion)
Depending on the type of way the land is used can be an indicator of the socioeconomic background of the surrounding area. Like the pictures describes in the presentation in class. There were two areas that were the same in scale that depicted how dense the plot was. When you have more money, you own more land and you diversify that land for your own benefit. The high density picture depicted how the use of the plot of land was being overused due to how the area is more poverty stricken, houses are cheap to none there because of its high density and low quality. The type of area that you grow up in can have a huge influence on how you grow up, see the world, and are given opportunities. There is less of a likelihood that if you were to grow up in slum you’ll have more opportunities to get a solid education, and give back to society rather than someone who grew up in a more affluent part of town. From my own experience I saw this happen all the time back home where I am from. I grew up in a low income, basically poor ghetto community in Modesto, CA. It was hard growing up; I could take no shortcuts in school because it was essentially my only way out of the neighborhood. Although many of the other kids my age in the neighborhood did not understand that. I had a part time job making money to pay for the lifestyle that my friends in more affluent neighborhoods were given by their parents. The unfortunate story is that the majority of the kids my age in my neighborhood would deal drugs to make their money. Selling it back to the users in the neighborhoods they grew up in, these kids create a vicious cycle, shaping the community they live in. The more affluent the community is, there is a tendency to be far less crime.
Here is a great read:
The city near my area is San Francisco, California, but I live in Daly City, CA. I live within a few blocks where the actual city borders near San Francisco. A presence of culture is within a five-minute walk towards Mission Street and the many mixed-use buildings that inhabit markets and restaurants. My city inhabits a great deal of many cultural influences which coexist with the growing accessibility to nearby amenities and local religious facilities as well. The surprising diversity of public space and private space has remained the same for years, and the only physical change I see is the social and economic restructuring of access of goods and services made easier for the community. As a result, housing is expensive, and the growing need for more land redevelopment to occur is prominent within my city.
There is an increase of areas which facilitate integration for smart job growth. Businesses like hospitals, banks, shopping centers, convenience stores, gas stations, bakeries are some of the examples which jobs have increased through the years. I find that much of the smart job growth gives business professionals who have an education and who embody many skill sets a slight advantage over others. Much of the smart growth in jobs are the result of an increase in standard of living in my city. Most items from groceries, clothing, furniture, goods and services have increased accessibility considerably, but at a cost to most. This then pushes residents to look for higher paying jobs and maintain employment networks to increase their chances of getting the suitable job that they want. A shortage of employment may mean that residents must apply for jobs farther away and would have to commute to get to their job. This may impact their livelihood and cause a lifestyle change which is also an added stressor of socio-cultural adaptation.
The population within my city is growing and is the result of many cultural hotspots for excellent places to live. The growing amount of emigrants coming from other countries and finding the best suitable places to live and work resonates well in my city. I find many people in the streets looking for a job, and I find this disheartening. The continued stress from global factors and the pressures to succeed are especially true of my culture and importance for upward social mobility. Also, the effort to alleviate poverty and end police brutality is more important now as these can linger from nearby metropolitan cities and cause public safety issues within cities.
My city is not perfect, but it maintains its character through the use of many resources that make it a great and thriving city. Many of my city’s residents prefer using automobiles to get where they are going, but I prefer using public transportation to save money and experience city life. I enjoy what my city offers, but most goods and services cannot be in one suburban area. These goods and services must come from central cities and are the primary sources for business and commerce. I am fortunate to live in a city that is sustainable, but sustainable in a holistic sense and that cannot be forgotten. There are many instances where redevelopment of public spaces was the central attention for my city. I see that redevelopment is crucial for economic stability, but I do not welcome it easily. These city projects drive the cost of living higher in my city along with it requires consideration for job growth, population growth, and community involvement.
The most powerful, or at least useful, idea I got from reading Scott Campbell’s essay describes the “tension between between reducing pollution and making transportation access more equitable, an example of how bias toward social inequity [and ecological degradation] may be embedded in seemingly objective [development] proposals.”
At a macro scale, density and the availability of cheap (and often not well-built) housing in older neighborhoods provides cities with as large a tax-base as can be extracted from an inexpensive labor force; this can be used to attract free enterprise (including property developers) seeking a low-wage workforce, leading to the urban pattern we see in the left-hand Cairo slide.
Conversely, the availability of large swathes of land (nature) can be used to attract an affluent tax-base, and the provision of some or most of this land can be leveraged for local conservatorship through the permitting process (This is a Western, capitalist perspective, of course), leading to what we see on the right-hand slide. These land-use controls can then be used to both improve the value of properties developed on the open land and control the density and spread of the low-income population over the urbanized land. While all this makes a kind of developmental sense, it almost guarantees the lack of equity-sharing amongst the residents of these two sides, and I think that this is the only kind of pattern this logic can produce. But I like the idea of assuming that planning is biased towards social inequity because then it force you to look in places and ask questions you wouldn’t normally think of in planning proposals.
At a micro scale, I think the slide with the ‘gradient of familiarity’, where spaces and routes are socially coded as being either more or less public, and of this tension being a constant and daily point of negotiation for the occupants. I like the street widening example as well–when unplanned and low income-communities have narrow and/or irregular street patterns, to maximize the use of the built space for housing, this can make the planning for the extension of services, like street-widening to bring emergency vehicles containing vital medical equipment and supplies into the neighborhood, very challenging, an I believe that this is another area where planning also becomes negotiation.
The closest corollary I know of to the above here in San Francisco is Chinatown. The low-income neighborhood is both historically and physically prevented from any outward growth, and this has led to the density and crowding of the district during the daylight hours. This condition, combined with its notoriously narrow streets–with street signs bearing Chinese letterforms–and alleyways makes travel through the neighborhood different from the kind expected of in a cosmopolitan metropolis. Transit within and through Chinatown simply doesn’t work unless you are a district local, because you can walk through the district faster than you can get a bus through it.
The most influential force behind our current built environment, especially urban areas started with the Robert Moss, who reshaped New York after the model of Haussmann after World War II. He introduced the concept of constructing highways and other infrastructure through debt finance system (Harvey 5). This model spread quickly throughout the whole nation and became the model for many major cities. People were able to afford homes, through subsidization of homeownership. Homeownership caused a switch in the way the american people lead their lives. Social isolation emerged due to single family housing. Consumption became a desired state and families on average owned two cars and luxury commodities such as refrigerators and air conditioners. It spiked oil consumption and ultimately contribute a big part to climate change and continues doing so. The urban sprawl brought many cities to their knees, often leaving behind people of color and low income families.
In more recent years, the urban areas have become a space for privileged people including businesses that reinvest into the cities and clean up undesirable neighborhoods. Cities have become a major center for expensive commodities, “cultural and knowledge-based industries” (Harvey 8). The shift of the cities towards a more upper class ruled political system, is now putting a lot of pressure onto the low income communities. With the support of the legal system and economy, major cities are becoming more and more gentrified, additionally causing a displacement of low paying jobs to other areas.
Communities of colors are mostly affected by these industry shifts. Many of the toxic waste and industries are placed into these neighborhoods. David Harvey, author of “The Right Of The City”, points out that underprivileged people often don’t have the resources to fight back displacement or dirty industry moving into their neighborhood. This brings up the issue of environmental racism and social justice. People profiting from the economy often don’t have to carry the burden that come with the commodities. Bayview Hunters Point, a neighborhood in southern San Francisco has been suffering from environmental pollution and contamination. Bayview Hunter Point used to be a shipyard, and is now home to PG&E’s power plant, heavy industry and pollution from trucks (Ester 5). It is notable that people in this neighborhood have to carry the burden of an industry that is not profiting them in any way.
People have started to speak up, and formed a new movement called sustainable development. One of the most important aspects is to give rights to future generation, and making sure that these generation will have a livable planet Earth. Sustainable development also focuses on the present economy and social movement. Geographic equity is a concept that encompasses issues that people living in Bayview Hunters Point are facing (Haughton). In a sustainable society, people who are not benefitting from polluting industry, shouldn’t be responsible for carrying the burden of the pollution. Many industries are not held responsible for externalizing cost of pollution, making their items cheaper. If we want to elevate low income communities suffering from pollution, we need combat these types of businesses. It requires an economic shift that will go hand in hand with a social shift towards a more sustainable future.
A topic that I am very passionate about is waste. We have a three bin system in San Francisco, that diverts a lot of our materials away from landfill. The other two option are compost, that turns food scraps into soil, and recycle, that takes hard plastics, metal and clean paper. People might get the false illusion that they are doing the morally correct thing by putting materials into bins other than landfill, but they are still attributing to consumerism. Most of our recycled materials are shipped to China, that has lower environmental standards. A lot of the materials end up polluting the environment because they go through heavy chemical processes in order to be recycled. Our actions on the city level is causing issues around the world.
Harvey, David. “The Right To The City”. PDF. 23 Sept. 2016.
Ester, Tessie, and Marie Harrison. “Pollution, Health, Environmental Racism and Injustice: A Toxic Inventory of Bayview Hunters Point, San Francisco.” N.p., Sept. 2004. Web. 23 Sept. 2016. .
Haughton, Graham. “Environmental Justice and the Sustainable City.”Journal of Planning Education and Research (1999): 233-43. Print.
I come from a small town called Pico Rivera, which is within the boarders of Los Angeles County. It is hard to find anything positive about Los Angeles when we are discussing sustainable development. At the moment, Los Angeles is unsustainable. This area is polluted in all areas, dependent of cars, and some areas do not have proper drinking water. Even though all of these problems continue to persist in this area, Los Angeles has developed a plan to combat these issues. They want to become more of a self-reliant city and reduce the amount of impacts on our planet. The plan that the mayor and city planners have developed focuses on both short term and long term goals that will help transform Los Angeles into an environmental friendly city. Sustainable development is something that is starting to open the eyes of city planners. Being in San Francisco has made me realize how fortunate I am to be in such a progressive community. This city is seen as one of the leaders in sustainability. Los Angeles has set very ambitious goals that they hope to accomplish over the next 20 years. To name a few, the city wants to achieve zero waste and recycle properly. This can be good for the community because maybe then, they can become more aware of where there waste goes. The city also wants to invest in more mobility options such as bus lines, bike and pedestrian safety. This will allow Los Angeles to become more sustainable because people will begin to use other modes of transportation. Los Angeles was built for the use of the automobile. This needs to be altered so that our community will become less polluted. The last one that I will mention is the development of more affordable housing. This will help with keeping people out of the streets and in clean affordable places. On a more local level, the city of Pico Rivera does not provide sustainable methods. I think that since it is such a small town, and the c=major city of Los Angeles has yet to make a change, they do not feel the need to. What we do have is an abundance of open space. In our town, we have a total of 8-9 parks. This shapes our city in a way that builds a strong community. Our parks are filled with sports throughout the year, which allows residents to get to know each other and kids to make friends growing up. Even though Los Angeles is behind, they are still trying to make improvements. It is up to us to hold them accountable for the projects they propose. Sustainable development is necessary for many reasons. The main one is so that we can preserve our recourses for our future generations.
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Nicholas B. Evans
As a student from the east bay I have seen the change in many cities around my area in the last ten years or so that Illiterate how money and wealth can shape your nahborhood. The committees that have more money and are in higher tax brackets have better schools with more funding, They create their communities to be inclusive of people who have their amount of wealth and incomes. In an area with a lot of money and wealth there will be a lot more shopping centres and places to shop. Higher end store will be the norm and most of the items will be at a unavoidable cost unless you are in the socioeconomic class of the neighbourhood. A good example of this is walnut creek, its littered with boutique shops, fine dinning establishments and expensive bars that are way over priced. Their community is shaped by the wealth and the resources that surround the city.
Communities of people who are poorer often don’t have the resources to fight back from company’s who are less appealing and often more hazardous to their communities. That is often why a lot of poorer communities are surrounded by heavy industry, ether they had no choice in their place to live or the industry moved in because it bought its way into the community.
A lot of poorer neighbourhoods lack the infrastructure to have healthy citizens and public services such as fire departments and police departments. I think funding has a lot to do with the people who live in their communities, the more money a communities has the more donations and services are available.
I find it interesting that most of the growth in the east-bay is higher density and more concentric on above market housing, I think that as time goes on the east bay will change drastically and the increases in people will change the microeconomics of the area and there may end up being more pockets of poverty due to the increases in high value apartments and realestate.
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I turned my paper in at 8pm on the 23rd
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Socioeconomic factors are one of the (if not the) largest force in shaping how cities are built and shaped. Money is the key player in development, and those who have a lot of it often have a much larger role in determining what and where a project gets built. Usually in cities the poor are isolated into densely populated pockets. This is the case in the above image of Cairo, of Mexico City, the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro, the slums in India, etc. They all have a common ascetic from an arial view – Densely, poorly constructed homes often with a clear definition of their boundary. These areas around these poor communities are free to build, develop, accept caplitlistic investments for luxury hotels, malls, restaurants, nice streets, etc. This was exemplified in the photo in lecture 3. What I have seen in the U.S. (although this happens everywhere around the world) is that heavy industry, manufacturing, and large municipal utilities are usually built in close proximity to low income neighborhoods. This is the case in San Francisco. In the southeast portion of the city there is a wastewater treatment plant, the large municipal bus refueling station, and industrial warehouses in very close proximity to low income housing projects and communities. Poorer people often live near these things because they can not afford to move away, or they can not afford a legal team to keep dirty projects out of their communities like more affluent people can.
On a smaller scale, small portions of towns and cities are subject to dramatic influence by socioeconomic factors. The article written by S.L. Lopez shows how “remittance houses” can affect the social fabric of small Mexican neighborhoods. I have experienced this myself during my time in Mexico. In the small town of Sayulita, Mexico the public space is the street and the sidewalk, which is heavily used by the locals to socialize. Every so often you will pass by a large property, that is often vacant, that is completely walled off, and in various stages of construction. These homes are usually owned by wealthy Americans, or, as Lopez explains: migrant workers that come back to Mexico to construct a large home using the money they made in the U.S.. These higher income properties serve as dull uninviting patches that spread apart the fun and attractive shops and permanent residents of that small public space(street).
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My understanding of sustainable development is planning for the needs of people without damaging the earth. Some factors that are important when designing and planning are heat, light, and shelter. Using natural resources are good ways to use what we are given form the earth. The UN definition of sustainable development is more of a definition of making the world a better place. It is a good idea but it doesn’t seem like it is a development issue. Certain goals are true, as in climate change. Climate change is due to mankind and all the consequences it has by what we do in our daily lives. We all have to eat, work, and play so by being more sustainable in those areas we can limit our footprint on the earth. Some aspects could be how we design communities. Using recycled materials for the structure, orientation of buildings to allow enough sunlight and heat, location of buildings next to public transportation are some factors to consider. Some of the top milestones in the evolution of urbanization is because the population is growing in a rapid pace. People started building shelters out of clay and stones and evolved into wood and steel. The wheel was invented and now we use gas and oil to power our cars and planes. To make those cars and planes we need electricity to run factories. The agriculture business is a must because we all have to eat but the run the business causes damage to the environment. These topics are all influenced because of humans, so by having sustainable concepts in each area we can limit the amount of damage on earth.
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9 September 2016
There are a number of factors that are incorporated when it comes to how the built environment around is shaped and framed. Including within, are some socioeconomic factors that may be vital in regards to shaping the public space. Initially, there are certain values that policy makers and entities with influence are concerned with when planning to shape a certain space. For instance, there are equity criteria that policy makers and public sectors need work according in order to achieve a sustainable and just society. Not only are socioeconomic factors such as level of income important for shaping a convenient space, but also principles that focus on being sustainable for the sake of future generations. Those perspectives are known as Inter-Generational & Intra-Generational principles, the former emphasizes on being sustainable with the current resources for the sake of future generations, and the latter being sustainable while considering the future generations actual needs and numbers. In addition to that, equity also needs to be prioritized in a geographical and social point of view as well by having local policies and specific networks that ensures that all people of a given society are treated fairly. Another important note in how the public space is formed and shaped is the specific approach used in relationship with wildlife and nature. To illustrate, one may be using the so called ‘’Expansionist Approach’’ which intends to use natural resources as efficiently and sustainable as possible to develop cities. There is also the ‘’Steady State’’ approach which seeks to limit the use of resources when expanding the public space. In addition to the different approaches and principles that are emphasized when shaping a public space, one must be aware that the Capitalistic financial influence in societies undoubtedly plays a role in how a shaped environment looks and is structured. Capitalism is specifically demonstrated through the process of urbanization, or more correctly through the history of urbanization since large parts of the world are moving to a more urbanized and industrialized lifestyles.
Growing up in a high-developed, western country (Sweden), I recall the structures of the city to be shaped based on obvious economical differences. For instance, the integral part of the city ; the building blocks if you will are dependent and determined by the number of low income labor workers. Whether it is cleaning up the roads, driving the buses, or serving food, it all seemed to be working according to a function where the flow is upwards. Both in terms of looking at the city (Stockholm) as a whole, or even in a closer perspective at a local city center for instance, we are able to observe the financial factors that signify the building blocks of the public space. Usually low-income citizens often of immigrant background, tend to come from poorer neighborhoods that are much more densely populated outside the city, to work within the city as quote on quote basic labor workers. The socioeconomic factors that shape the city through its citizens also bring up sociological consequences. Some parts of the city are beautiful and affluent with luxury accessibilities, while other areas where hardworking labor workers are living have higher crime rates and more presence of drugs as a result of many socioeconomic components. Simultaneously, there are many services within the public space that are allocated for people who are suffering financially to be part of the built environment such as mass-education workshops, local gardens where people can grow crops, and subsidized real estate property which attracts people of lower income to open up businesses and community halls for example. As long as there are multiple factions that shape the environment by including all groups of the society, we can regard it as somewhat sustainable.
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Simon Wannehag Hagene
Capitalism is owned by the few. The top one percent owns more than ninety percent. These are uprising phrases growing amidst our increasing suspicions of an unfair system- because it is. How is it possible for someone to earn billions of dollars, when there are people starving? Losing their homes? It’s a sad reality we have to question, in which can only be understood through analysis of how it all took form.
The readings we had for last week pointed out some very important aspects and logics behind our socioeconomic situation. How we exchange with each other, in order to get what we want or need. It could have been a fair situation, although the issues appear when the greed kicks in, and we start claiming instead of exchanging. We own this land. We own this house. We own this oil. Everything we claim builds our value of exchange power, which contributes to a system wherein people who came last simply lost the game in the long-term. There’s no fairness in it. Those who won, mostly White Europeans and Americans, have the biggest of fortunes today.
“The educational system legitimates economic inequality,” it is said by Bowles and Gintis in their Marxian Critique. From my view, that’s mainly in the United States and other countries where they don’t encourage enough public support; look to Germany, Sweden and Norway, where higher education and healthcare is made available, free to access through a well-planned taxation system. They’re social democratic societies, having weighted democratization and justainability as their core principles in achieving their goals.
The example I’d like to point out from the lecture, is the one made on urban development in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. They use their surplus to invest in building their massive cities, hotels and artificial islands(through oil richness)- being a highly unsocial, yet economically profitable way of keeping up their absorption of surplus. Housing market is an important stabilizer of their economy still, therefore they also regulate speculators’ access from buying and selling without actually living there. Anyhow, their countries’ investments are seen as socially unjust and environmentally wasteful; in clear opposition to Norway, wherein the oil wealth is a shared savings account. Oil wealth is problematic in itself though, because of the environmental injustice.
‘Right to the City’ is an important concept, as it’s a way of understanding our values and how urbanization is reflecting who we want to be. With social movements as catalysts for change and renewals of our politics, there is a connection between what we desire and what we develop around us. We want to feel safe at night, so we put up street lights. We demand things through collective power. In San Francisco, because of the housing crisis and amount of people who are quickly becoming homeless each year, there is also a growing demand for more affordable housing. Additionally, there is resistance against services like Airbnb, which takes up necessary space in the city for those who live, work or study here. The solutions exist, albeit it’s a hard task when people with wealth and power(read: Apple and Facebook) increase the pressure and drive up the markets through their spending. The wealthy have too much influence over the city’s decision-making and therefore threatens the democratization.
In Oslo(Norway), there is a small revolution happening right now. The green politics is changing how we think of our cities, by increasing our focus towards quality of life instead of profitable solutions. The city center is planned to become a car-free zone, and roof-tops as well as old parking spaces are turned into fields for locally produced food. There is also an increase in affordable housing being built, as well as higher taxation for the wealthiest residents. Further, there are debates on how much of a presence we should allow for commercials to be visible in the public space, which is important in defeating our ever-growing capitalist way of spending. Together, people are rethinking(and reshaping), the space they are in use of.
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Isla Carenero is a small island part of Bocas del Toro, a province of Panama, found in the Caribbean. Isla Carenero is a good example of how socioeconomic factors have shaped the built environment. The island consists of one market, a few hostels, areas with a lot of high-density low-income housing and areas with lavish homes and vacation rentals. The island also has a number of docks where small taxi boats frequent and provide cheap transportation from the smaller islands to the main island, Isla Colon. Just a few steps away from the hostel where I stayed there was a local neighborhood. The housing appeared to be very low cost, many of the houses had no windows. All of the houses were built up above the ground, I’m assuming to protect them from flooding. There were no paved roads, just some paths that could be taken around the island. Everyday I saw kids of all ages running around barefoot, playing with cardboard boxes and plastic crates. It was clearly a very poor neighborhood. There was a lot of litter, especially plastic all around the place. Despite these conditions, the island is incredibly beautiful with lush coconut palms and turquoise beaches. Which is why it’s no surprise why tourism is growing in Bocas. However, the increase in revenue due to tourism hasn’t seemed to improve living conditions for many of the Panamanians living there. Continuing down the path from my hostel, I saw quite a few abandoned housing projects, halfway done with nothing but walls. A little further and I began to see mansions. I later learned that these were vacation rentals, fully furnished and ready to be used by anyone who could afford them. Whereas the neighborhoods for locals had houses one on top of another, these houses were spread far apart, and each had their own dock, some with private boats. Although there was still some trash that was inevitably carried there by the current, there was a substantially less then on the local side. It seemed like every part of the local side was public space. People were constantly outside of their homes, spending time with each other. Kids were always outside playing and running around. On the other side I didn’t encounter any people other than some construction workers building a house. Everything seemed private and constricted to ones own property lines. The most swimmable beach was in front of a privately owned home, but was visited by both tourists and locals. Which, other than businesses where locals are serving tourists, is the only place I saw locals and tourists together. It was pretty clear how economic status shaped the built environment, and how different each side of the island was due to how much money was being put into it. The market, hotels and restaurants are all owned by foreign investors. Their main interest is to profit off of their investments, not to improve the local quality of life. Bocas reminds me of the image of Brazil from the slides in class with the luxurious building with private pools on the balconies separated by a giant wall from a low-income community. Only in Bocas, the two different built environments are more or less divided by a small patch of jungle.
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Reading Response 3
The built environment says a lot about how we as a society view ourselves and what we value. Since the dawn of civilization, people have built their surroundings to fit them and their daily activities. Naturally, this was done on a human scale, arranged in neighborhoods where one’s access to everything they needed was within a twenty minute walk. This same basic arrangement, forged through trial and error, became the template that cities, towns, villages, etc. were built upon to varying scales. American cities such as San Francisco, were no exception to this metric, as were all settlements built before World War II. Common among settlements was the inclusion of a “town square”, a central meeting point for the community. This central location often would be open to the public off all walks of life and station. Two of the main drawing points to the area were religiously related (church, mosque, temple) and a market place for the townspeople to hock their wares. It was commonly understood that the town square had sacrosanct qualities; although ruled over by a lord, it belonged to the whole public. What I think changed our perceptions of public space and the urban built environment was due to several factors such as industrialization, commercialization, and auto-dependency. Firstly, industrialization during the nineteenth century created very polluted conditions for people that lived in central cities. Those with means, fled to greener pastures literally, and with them, their resources for the left-behind community. Rising capitalism created conditions where everything became commodified. A “public space” serves no purpose to those seeking profit, in fact, it is a barrier. Systemically, Captains of Capital disassembled places of gathering to break down class solidarity, but to also make opportunities for privatization. If one looks around contemporary societies, especially in post-war suburbs, the public realm has been hollowed out. Shopping and strip malls dot the landscape, beckoning shoppers whose only purpose is to spend money. The stores are privately owned and so are most shopping complexes themselves. These private spheres are mostly accessible through private automobile use to transport purchased merchandise to their single-family home. If the community lacks funds, usually public spaces are rundown or a place where the homeless can find refuge. San Francisco still has some centers of public space, such as its many parks or most notably, Union Square. People naturally want to gather and these places allow them opportunity to do so. Shops are accessible, but they are not the focal point, the public is. People want a space to be anonymous and to see and be seen. As shown in the lecture, the ancient city of Cairo retains its urban bones. Tahrir Square let the people have a place to gather and have their voice heard away from control of a private space. New Urbanism is helping to reacquaint citizens with the public realm to create places worth caring about. Car oriented places like Austin, Texas are experimenting with tried-and-true New Urbanist principles of mixed use and transit friendly ecosystems. The public must demand their return of the public space that was taken from them.
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In my home of San Francisco socioeconomic factors have a major impact on the way the city is shaped. The wealth gap is greater than ever in this city and it has made for rapid shifts in the way the city looks. The tech industry has brought in wealthy and educated people but their money never leaves their private interests and the public sector of the city doesn’t see any of the potential benefit of wealthy residents. Our neighborhoods range from upscale homes that are sold for many millions of dollars, to neighborhoods where everyone and their neighbors are either in poverty or always on the brink. For those who do not have a home, they live in the poorer neighborhoods to avoid the hateful glares of wealthy people who would rather fund their hobbies than use their money to benefit those who are in dire need.
How did this city become so disjointed? San Francisco’s legacy is that of connection and learning from people from all backgrounds. The reason for this new era is not just the economic layout of capitalism, but the culture of capitalism that has conditioned people to fight for themselves and no one else. A capitalist agenda is driving the tech industry and the public officials who play the game in City Hall.
An example of how class affects this city is the way that the surrounding neighborhood’s class determines funding for public spaces. Looking north of Market Street and East of Divisadero street, which includes North Beach, Nob Hill, The Marina, and Financial District, there are so many public green spaces available in each neighborhood that are well maintained and have world prestige. A poorer neighborhood, such as Bayview-Hunters Point has little to no public spaces for its residents to come together and enjoy. This is a injustice to the people who cannot afford to live or raise families in the wealthy neighborhoods. Being able to feel connected to your community and enjoy the outdoors in a safe space is key for keeping a healthy mind and body. When the city decides who should and shouldn’t have public spaces, they decide who can and cannot thrive.
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When shaping the built environment for a cleaner and greener future, planners take into account of becoming LEED certified during an environmental planning process, especially when designing housing units in a city setting. They only rely on this scale to prove that their models can be sustainable in the long-run. Yes, this is true, but planners leave out equity principles. As noted in lecture, the equity principles (intergenerational, intra-generational, geographical, and procedural) are left out in the planning process. If we as a society are to build a sustainable future for all peoples, then equity needs to be taken into account of when planning for the built environment. Everyone should have the right to a home and everyone should have a right to open public space to share as a community. In sustainable development, the equity principles represent the essential environmental justice framework that many cities crucially need. We live in a world where the market decides where certain development takes place and who gets to live in the developed areas. Some areas of low-income neighborhoods probably will not get much attention development wise, whereas a high-income neighborhood has more open possible development options. These divisions of neighborhoods are not healthy for the city. The place where we reside should be a right for the residents to determine the development outcome of their city. Often, large corporations determine the urban development process and continue to leave out equity. As David Harvey said, “a collective rather than an individual right since changing the city inevitably depends upon the exercise of a collective power over the processes of urbanization” (Harvey, 2008). When I visited the Philippines, the division of neighborhoods are widely seen. In one area can be a gated community with high walls surrounding the housing units and in another area can be small houses/shacks with tin roofs. On the other hand, right in the middle of both areas can be tall high rises and they continue to build more high rises. However, these new projects are not for the average person; they are for wealthy individuals who can afford it. This leaves out equity because while one person is living a lavish life, another person right next door still has a tin roof and has to sell whatever they can on the street to make a living. Most small homes are also small shops where most people are encroaching the public space. This is common in the Philippines as people are just trying to make an honest living.
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Urbanization has started to dominate human beings lives since long time ago, and it’s actually still increasing in the scale of the world’s population. As we talked about how Capitalism influences our life’s style and being correlated with urbanization. I believe our social justice has been emerged with the idea of Capitalism radically. Therefore, the people who lived in the cities all are just trying to access more resources and gain higher self-capitals. The Atmosphere also influence the process of urbanization in terms of the principle of competition. Moreover, cities have been being competitive with each other for the rank of higher living standard, better security, and such. This reinforce cities to emphasize on economic development in order to support the high level of services and decent infrastructures. In order to achieve that, finance and business become very important in cities because cities could provide a platform for people to commute in the most convenient way. At the same time, these two kinds of specialists become very attractive high paid jobs since they run an important role in cities. Therefore, many people today would advocate to finance or business areas, and somehow that reduce the diversity in our cities. People might start to have less passions on other interests since the atmosphere of the society is specialized in finance and business. In meanwhile, the people who live in the cities are relatively less chanced to own properties since the high cost of living keep pressuring them. So many people who failed from the competition become some kind of “loser” in our societies, some of them even become homelessness. Therefore, I would say Capitalism influences our societies that become a large single public space from diverse cities.
My hometown, Macau, a tiny city nearby Hong Kong has changed a lot since the government opened the door for gambling liberation. Gambling industry actually changed Macau’s economy in a positive way rapidly, but at the same time the social issues became bigger and bigger and rooted deeply in the middle class in Macau. Casinos and hotels jobs became very popular to Macau’s residents because they have a lot of supplies. However, single economic system caused Macau had to depend on the tax revenue from gambling industry. At the same time, government was not interested to use those tax surplus to improve the cities’ infrastructures, instead it decided to give a cash aid to every Macau’s residents each years. We could see how Macau’s government lacked of long term vision in terms of the sustainable development for the city. People lacked of training for different skills. The pollutions of hotel and casinos wastes have never been solved and the government chose to ignore. Bad traffic design caused traffic jams everywhere in anytime in the tiny city. Public transportations were hated by people since they could not provide satisfied services. There has so many urban problems in Macau that is still waiting someone to fix them. Sustainable development could work on Macau as long as the government and public both wanted to advocate with. Therefore, I hope one day I could go back and help with their urban development.
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They are many ways and factors on how people and the community build and shape their cities. One factor that a city can build a sustainable environment and place is by making the city to reduce the overall resource consumption. One of the issues that many cities are struggling is in keeping the environment clean. I think SF does a good job is reducing overall resource consumption when they got rid of the plastic bags in their city. I think plastic bags is a huge waste of resources because they are not compostable, and are really hard to get rid off. It’s good for the city and environment to get rid of plastic bags because it takes huge space in landfills that are overcrowded as it is, and what’s best way to improve their city and been more green then use their resources on how to replace them with compostable bags in most businesses in the city. This is one example that SF uses renewable resources to deal with the issue of pollution in order to built a sustainable city and identity for future generations.
Another sociofactor in how the city is built is by the influence and culture of immigrants. I do believe that immigrants indeed are part of the architectural designs that changes and influences cities. For starters, they send a lot of money to their families especially the ones who work in the U.S. This helps with the issue in poverty in other countries and with money send from their families from the U.S, people have the opportunity to improve and make changes in their houses and most importantly, improve their lifestyle in order to get rid off poverty. Also most immigrants save up money to buy houses in other countries. My mom is a perfect example of how immigrants save money to build their dream house. My mom came to U.S to pay her debts and save up money so she come back to Mexico. She made enough money to buy a her dream house in Mexico. She design her house similar to the ones in the U.S. Living in other countries can impact how you want your property to be and changes the way neighborhoods can change and look overtime. It generates a changes in Mexican towns and villages as well as in culture once immigrants return to their home country from the U.S. Immigrants are also changing the cities and landscape in the U.S. The immigrants who do not want leave the U.S. And are successful usually buy house in the U.S. Instead and built houses the ones in Mexico Also, many Mexicans start a business usually Mexican products or restaurants that have the style and design just like the ones in Mexico which creates and builds a diverse and unique city.
Civic engagement and leadership creates a huge impact in aiding and making public spaces available to the people. One thing that some public spaces in cities specially in suburbs in that is car oriented and and some cities focus more on high quality transportation rather then having more alternative transportation in getting around the city. Leadership and civic engagement can change and make a difference by letting everyone know what improvements and changes need to happened. One of the methods is semantic differential and questionnaires. Having citizens fill out anonymous questionnaires is the best way to know what the city needs to improve. For Example, BART transportation is doing an excellent job recently in handing out questionnaire and semantic differential to hear their riders opinion and satisfaction of their transportation. Most of the weekends when I take Bart I always get a questionnaire paper by a Bart to fill in and let my opinion being heard about what I think about Bart and what it needs to improve. Overall, I think it’s the leadership is right step for people to have better access of public spaces if the transportation in the city heavily improves.
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I grew up in Savannah, GA. I haven’t lived there in over 20 years. I recently went back to visit for my family reunion and was quite surprise by what I saw and experienced. I visited a couple years prior but I didn’t really explore the city, this visit I did explore. Ever since the movie “Midnight in the garden of good and evil” debuted, and Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) became one of the most popular art school in the world, tourist by the millions have flocked to Savannah, GA. Savannah’s downtown historic district has been re-vamped, there are tons of restaurants, cafe’s, antique stores, eclectic stores, and every dilapidated Victorian house I remembered has been restored and valued in the millions in the historic district. As far as sustainable development, Savannah has incorporated very little. It has a recycling center that accepts a limited amount of items, also residents pay to have their recycles picked up and can be fined if recycling cans are at the curb during a certain time. Needless to say, Savannah is not big on sustainability. However, the city is very mindful of preserving historic sites. When SCAD became famous, some new building were built to accommodate the growing population, but mostly old building were restored and updated to serve the school. The #1 thing present during my visit was capitalism. I’ve never seen so many tourist in Savannah at once, not even during St. Patrick’s Day, another highly tourism event in Savannah. Old bug infested hotels that were not renovated where charging a hundred dollars a night if they were in close proximity of the historic district. Although the population has significantly increased since I lived there, and the historic district has absolutely been urbanized, other parts of the city have no growth overall. Public space in Savannah is highly governed by city officials. Many tourist visit Savannah for it beautiful landscape, so city officials make sure those outdoors spaces are clean and free of anything people might frown upon, such as homeless people. I’m unsure if the public has any say in Savannah development. I know many groups have an opinion about the progress of urbanization in Savannah. But Savannah has always held on to the same rules and regulations rarely change any old habits. Savannah will incarcerate a person if they destroyed an old Oak tree, not for environmental reasons but more for ruining their landscape. This is the mentality of most Southern states, not really concerned about sustainability.
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The city of San Francisco’s geographical feature of it being on a peninsula is one of the biggest obstacles that planners need to work with. It limits the boundaries of the city with bodies of water. The city has been considered to be fully developed since the 1950’s. With that being said, any other further development is categorized as redevelopment.
San Francisco has shaped its body over the years due to the influence of its residents. Majority of the city’s planning structure take into consideration of the distribution of pedestrian traffic throughout the city. For instance, the large shopping centers located at the heart of downtown were all agglomerated together because of the huge amount of pedestrians found to be there. Downtown San Francisco has been known to hold and supply a large amount of jobs throughout the bay area. Consumerism takes into effect providing the convenience of goods and services to a crowd of people who actually has money to spend. Another large amount of the pedestrians in the area are tourists which also circulates more even money in the city. This promotes further development of buildings to become mixed-used. More stories are being built rather than expanding outward to make room for more offices or other businesses. This is how downtown San Francisco has came to be how it is today.
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USP Homework #3
It depends on how the land is used to indicate socioeconomic background of the surrounding areas. For me I live in San Francisco, California and the total amount of money that everyone make isn’t that bad. However, there are some places in San Francisco that can be really bad place to be. For me I live near the more richer side of the city and less crime rate. So I guess it depends on the total amount of money you make. If you make a lot of money you can own more land the higher chance you can have a better environment For me in San Francisco, California people there are mostly really nice to each other not a lot of crime rates compare to maybe other cities. An example of a city that the crime rate is high is where I grew up in which in Guangzhou, China. The people there don’t make a lot of money and the environment there is pretty bad. Lots of crime rates from stealing, murdering, and etc. For me I was really young so I didn’t know about the city a lot until I got older and went back to San Francisco. For me I grew up in a richer family maybe like working class but pretty high in the working class since both my parents work. My dad was an architect and my mom works for Air China a plane company. So I have never see how it feels to be in a poor family. However, that doesn’t mean I have to rely on my parents a lot because that’s just bad for me. So I took it slowly focusing in school going back home sometimes get yell at from my parents for not working and always rely my parents for money. However, that just made me and family life bad. So after 5 years I finally found a part time job so I can find ways to support myself instead of asking my parents for money. However, in San Francisco, affording house or even apartment is really expensive and can lead a lot of people in poverty. What I think we should do is for people like governor to help people out in San Francisco to support them with apartment and houses or find ways to make it cheaper for everyone Social-economic is huge in San Francisco because San Francisco there is a lot of public transportation to help people get to one place to another. However, many people are still not using them for support. There are many places that social economic should jump in for San Francisco since there are some places that is poor and can’t afford to live in a house or apartment. With social economic playing a big role in San Francisco I feel like it should be more used to help the environment get better.
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America is known as the melting pot of cultures, and its people, and especially immigrants could have socioeconomic effects that shaped the built environment of the entire city to the single space. San Francisco Chinatown has been reshaped by the Chinese clusters. As mentioned in class materials, there are always encroachment on public spaces in many parts of the world. For instances, store owners in Chinatown would put products on sidewalks leaving pedestrians with a few spaces to walk through. It is illegal and dangerous for people, but it also reflects one’s culture and beliefs which shapes the built environment of public spaces in San Francisco. In addition, neighborhoods with a majority of minority groups might suffer from reinvestment and lack of services. These neighborhoods might become blighted and continued in poverty. In that case, is reasonable to assume that people in these neighborhoods would not follow the system and small crimes could happen as a start to changing the built environment from all over the city to single public space.
Business firms and community organization involvements could be part of the economic factors that shaped the built form of the city. City governments often cooperates with business firms and community organizations for urban development and redevelopment programs. The available budgets and funding determines the way the city would be built. In addition, it also decides who would have access to certain areas of the city. Another examples from class materials of sustainable mobility faces with car oriented city also count as socioeconomic factors that shaped the built form of the city. Suburbs are mainly car oriented city which isolate neighbors from each other. The idea of sustainable developments promotes transit-oriented developments which challenges the auto-dependent cities. Transited oriented developments would result in changing the built environment by having fewer traffic lanes, safer pedestrian sidewalks, and more public transportation systems.
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I have lived in a few different settings growing up. First, I was born and lived my first nine years in Laguna, a province in the Philippines. The province only made up about 20,000 people with tightly-knit neighborhoods. Growing up, there wasn’t much crimes and if there were any, I’ve only heard of robbery. Many car accidents near the highway since there were many squatters residing by the road. I’m guessing this is because everyone knows each other. I grew off further aside from the main roads where houses were bigger with huge fences and usually came with rice fields but as you get closer to the main roads you would notice that there were smaller houses, grocery stores, and small vendors. Unlike discussed in class, the province I grew up in were not influenced by business. The main city though, Manila, is very condensed and the buildings are all very close to each other. There were commercial buildings on every corner and crimes were a lot more common. Since the population is a lot bigger, housing are smaller to accommodate as many people as possible. I would sometimes visit my aunt in Manila and she used to live in a house with many rooms. All the tenants in the building would share one bathroom. The buildings all around the city were built like this to make housing more affordable. In the city, although there is a form of public transportation, MRT and LRT, the streets are still usually packed with cars and jeepneys which causes traffic everyday. In the province, the main transportation were jeepneys, tricycles, and motorcycles. These transportation are all ran personally by people and they make a living out of it. Depending on where you live, people can definitely shape the cities they live in.
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There are many socioeconomic factors that influence the built environment – be it economic class, ethnic background, and/or access to public and natural resources, etcetera. Land density and transportational methods play a large role in shaping a city – the culture of highly dense city with public transportation will offer something different than a spread out city that is reliant on private automobiles. In America, class and race tend to correlate with the amount of public and ecologically intact resources are available for a given area. It isn’t uncommon for a lower-income neighborhood and/or communities of color to have less publicly funded resources available to them, be “food deserts”, and bear the brunt of environmental destruction and pollution.
According to Bowles and Gintis, human capital has brought about the elimination of class (as was once thought of) as the central economic concept. Everyone has instead become capitalists, (the majority of) whom are forced to sell their labor in exchange for resources and the means of production owned by a small elite. In this way, class has replaced traditional royalty, castes, and bloodlines, with essentially the same thing but revolving around economic class. As mentioned earlier, economic class is a large factor in dictating how cities are shaped. A wealthier city or neighborhood will have more funds to develop itself than a poorer one, but often this development isn’t equitable for all of it’s residents. This concept is key to gentrification, wherein higher income people’s push out lower income renters (usually pushing out the pre existing culture of the area as well). While some more affluent people see gentrification as a sort of progress, what it really is is just an expansion of one class (economic or otherwise) taking over another’s community. Progressive change for a city looks like equitable distribution of resources which allows lower income people’s to stay with their communities rather than find new ones.
Harvey argues that there is a “right to the city”, a right for democratic change through social movements, but that this can only happen through an urban revolution or nothing at all. While many social and political revolutions have taken main stage in urban settings, I do not think it is beyond rural ones to address such change as well. But with the global movement towards urban living along with the amenities cities offer, an urban revolution is the more likely outcome. Harvey’s idea of a right to the city brings about thoughts of inclusivity and equity, and how these must be key aspects for any sustainable city to thrive.
Haughton mentions four types of cities in “Environmental Justice and the Sustainable City” – the first of which being self reliant cities or self sufficient cities as I like to call them. While much of the world used to be a closed localized system, it’s hard to find a truly self sufficient city today. While the idea of a self reliant city certainly has its virtues – only uses what it can produce and doesn’t pollute other communities- it isn’t the most realistic option for the increasingly globalized world today. There are many local economies within cities that should be supported, but there are also certain resources that modern cities require that they cannot all get on their own. For example, urban agriculture and farmers markets are great and the reliance on foreign produce for exotic fruits etc. is trivial, but access to medicine and certain foreign technologies are necessary to help provide for all of a city’s citizens. While I am not saying external trade should be imposed upon any community, I do believe that a mix of supporting local goods whenever possible is ideal, but external sources are necessary for somethings as well.
Lopez’s “Remittance House” explores the intersection between the global economy, microgeographies, and foreign influence on traditional under-developed towns. Remittance Houses, in the context of Lopez’s work, are houses throughout underdeveloped Mexican towns that have been expanded, renovated, and redone (often with American influences) by Mexicans that immigrate to the United States due to the larger economy. These houses, ranging from added-onto traditional adobe homes to Mexican-American mansions, are changing the landscape of these towns and the relationships of people’s families. While these towns used to have modest courtyard abodes centered around family and community, these ideas have been strained by distant family member trying to earn more money in America and often bringing back a different architectural influence with them. Some immigrants stay in the US and make a new life within microgeographies (like the many Oaxacans in Venice Beach) due to immigration and deportation threats, while others return to Mexico after they have funded their family’s homes. Remittance Houses are an example of how the global economy can have a large influence on how many small cities change aesthetic and cultural values.
The socioeconomic status of a given area can be the biggest defining factor of any space that is used by humans. The luxury of space is one not many can afford and this is very well illustrated in the figure featured on this week’s blog discussion forum. This image illustrates two contrasting communities in Cairo, Egypt, one shows houses stacked on one another and the other displays a community where home are generously spread apart and not only that they each have access to pools as well as a golf course. This can be only a glimpse into how different urban life is for the people in each community. The community with less open space can be expected to have more crime because of the assumption that lowing income communities have higher crime rates, but also it seems like this community would have a tighter social fabric. People in this community probably all know each other and have interactions with each other daily. In contrast the higher income community is expected to have a high standard of living due to their access to open space and clean urban infrastructure, however members of this community are most likely to feel isolated from each other.
Although there are positive and negative aspects to every community that could be compared the need for nature and an unpolluted open space is essential to the human experience and without it the quality of life for the member of the community declines. It is essential that we protect the environment not just for some people of a socioeconomic level but for all people. Encouraging people to engage with one another and participate in the shaping of their communities can redefine the way that urban planning is thought of. Together as members of one urban center people can have access to all the benefits successful urban planning aims to achieve. In class we talked about how leadership can make an impact on the public space and in my opinion it is important to have leaders who are educated in the importance of equality and have the will power to move communities forward as well to reimagine the city. Open space should not a luxury when it means the ability to enjoy the unpolluted natural environment.
Socioeconomic factors affect each and every environment in today’s modern society. In many ways population can have a big impact on the way each environment is shaped from an entire city it self to a single space. Although, Culture, ethnicity, economic class, and policy will be the stepping-stones to how an environment is constructed. When talking about a sustainable future and how we should shape our environments based on sustainability, the most overwhelming aspect that affects our sustainable environment is transportation methods.
I am from the central valley. Fresno, CA to be exact, and in the environment of the central valley cars play a large roll in peoples day to day lives. It is also often noticeable that the neighborhoods, and shopping centers are developed based on our current use of transportation. In order to have a complete and sustainable environment of a city, society should not be compromised by transportation. In San Francisco, the built environment is also heavily constructed based on transportation. Many people today use the rail systems and busses to commute for jobs, school, and daily activities. There are many sections of the city that are unexsessible because of the methods of transportation although many of these areas draw in certain socioeconomic classes.
With great expenses to living inside and among a large city transportation is essential to those who do not generally have a high income. It is very interesting to see how neighborhoods are formed based on economic class and wealth distribution. In San Francisco, it is much harder to depict the separation of wealth than it is in the central valley. This is because it is much more populated and condensed. Although when going to the central valley it is almost inevitable to not see how wealth is distributed.
In many ways most San Francisco neighborhoods are fairly similar with availability, eyes on the street, and distribution of wealth. In the central valley many neighborhoods are separated based in wealth standards and the availability and options for goods/services.
In today’s world, socioeconomic factors are one of the leading drivers in the sustainability of different built environments. Poorer neighborhoods are often times less environmentally friendly than wealthier ones. People with wealth have the time, money, and power to protect their neighborhoods, and their built environments, from potential threats like freeways, heavy industry, and even public transportation. However, less wealthy people don’t have any of those, which often results in the environmentally unfriendly things being placed in or around their neighborhoods. There are examples of this everywhere. You can see it in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood; there are no buses that run down Valencia street, which is an incredibly gentrified part of the Mission. But if you go just a few blocks over you’ll reach 16th and Mission which is a hub of public transportation, and also one of the few remaining ungentrified pockets of the Mission. There are examples like this throughout the city, where wealth and aesthetic desires win over general public health and public good. As for a larger example, the I-5 in Stockton (my hometown) was built through what used to be the city’s Chinatown district. That neighborhood housed primarily poor and generally uneducated Chinese immigrants as well as a large portion of the city’s black residents. The residents of the neighborhood didn’t really have the time, money, or political sway to keep the freeway from being built through the middle of their neighborhood. And the people in that neighborhood continue to suffer from the increased pollution and smog the freeway brings. It’s terrible that cutting 15 minutes off of someone’s commute took priority over the lives and livelihoods of all the generations of residents in that neighborhood. However, cutting or adding time to people’s commutes brings its own set of environmental and health issues. Problems like this just go to show that planning, especially environmental planning, are incredibly detailed and tough issues to solve.
Socioeconomic factors play a major role in determining how cities can be shaped up. I think the biggest factor is income. People with less money tend to live in areas of a city that are in poor condition. Also they can be in areas exposed to levels of pollution that are unsafe and can affect their daily lifestyle decisions. They are placed in areas that are overpopulated as well. Another socioeconomic factor is the race of the people living in the city. Most minorities live in areas of low income in larger cities. The income and race go hand and hand and you can see that throughout the Bay Area. Growing up in Palo Alto, California you saw factors such as race and income make up the city. Palo Alto is a very wealthy city and right across the 101 freeway lies East Palo Alto a very low income area. The two cities share the same zip code and area code, yet the citizens live two completely different lives. EPA has an extremely high crime rate, with one of the highest deaths per capita, yet Palo Alto which is a street over is one of the safest cities in the state of California. It is very interesting that there is a “barrier” that separates the rich from the poor. Another example is San Francisco, living here now you can see the socioeconomic factors influencing the areas of where people live. The well paid families live in much nicer areas that have spacing between the homes and low income families are stacked up in homes with little privacy or space. Lastly another big socioeconomic factor is education. Education and wealth are connect, that being those with more money tend to have a better education and live in nicer areas. Urban areas have schools that are not as well set up and ran as compared to higher income areas.
The built environment can have many impacts of socioeconomic issues. It can gentrify cities into sections where many issues could arise. This in turn can create clear gaps in showing the difference between affluent neighborhoods and under privileged ones. While highly funded school districts, better transportation and more green space could be a few things that show this gap the; infrastructure, of commercialized space and necessities such as health care services and public safety can highlight It even more. Socially it can create issues correlated with gangs and crime depending on the area you live in too. Living in the South Bay for almost all of my life I’ve seen it at its best and at its worst. Socioeconomic factors shape the built environment for example, in my city are shaped in many different ways. In regards to the social aspect of my community it is very diverse I have neighbors who are white, Asian, Hispanic, and African American which; all encompass the general diversity of my neighborhood. It’s an average middle class part of San Jose safe and quiet with a good school district and low crime. But the more east you go the more this is diminished, you see more lower income housing, infrastructure that isn’t properly maintained, and large populations of lower income minorities. Now I terms of economics, just like the rest of the bay area it is over prices and only getting worse. With that being said you are beginning to see a huge gap in affordable housing in my area luckily for people like me who have been living here for plus fifteen years this crazy leap took place afterwards. But for unfortunate people who rely on rent you can really see the real estate trends driving families who once could afford living here out.
During the mid-century, built environments on regional and entire city scales were being shaped by modernist Le Corbusier influenced architects and a Robert Moses like city planning mentality that encouraged building unsustainable projects before the opposition can be formed. The example of those projects were city in the park high rises than became crime infested havens or freeways that split through lower socioeconomic neighborhoods and made an easy route for white flight. After the 1970’s cities and planning departments has been more open to socioeconomic shaping of the city or to make sure the projects don’t harm the local inhabitants and more considerate of environmental impacts.
From a lower socioeconomic factor, in Richmond CA and El Cerrito CA west of Interstate-80 Freeway, unsanctioned use of public space has been dedicated to planting edibles and fruit trees in the tree boxes between the street and sidewalk. Example, on 5228 Cypress Avenue in El Cerrito, there is a large tree box, due to not having gardening spaces, Mien American residents of the apartment complex have been planting fruit trees and vegetables on the 40 square meter tree box. City of El Cerrito and Richmond has policies against planting edibles in the tree boxes or public spaces, due to not wanting fruits falling on the sidewalk and passersby falling and getting injured from the fruits on the sidewalk. The City of El Cerrito Code Enforcement hasn’t reacted and the tree box garden continues to thrive. It has been observed the residents use sink waste water and waste water from cooking to water the plants. The residents of the apartment complex didn’t go through any official channels for approval, one elder resident just planted and others residents followed. This idea is a right to part of the city, which is shaping the built environment, but without red tape.
Similar to the readings to Lopez’s The Remittance House, there is an existing property trend happening in the area of 23rd Street in Richmond. The corridor has heavy presence of Mexican American cultural influences. Many stores catering to the Latino immigrant clientele has opened and structures has been painted colors to resemble buildings in Mexico or tropical locations. Just as houses in Mexico has a court yard like setting, along the 23rd Street Corridor, many have built stucco fences or wrought iron fences surrounding their property and even fencing in the front yard with attempts to build a court yard of plaza like setting. Instead of a financial remittance, 23rd Street in Richmond CA can be considered a cultural remittance.